Watford head coach Walter Mazzarri has revealed the need for “new stimuli” and the lure of the Premier League were among the reasons he joined the Hornets in the summer.
The 55-year-old opened up on his inspiration behind joining the club to Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
In it he calls the Premier League the “most important in the world” and says he had wanted to experience more of the English atmosphere which had blown him away when his Napoli side travelled to Manchester City in the Champions League in 2011.
Mazzarri, who is still learning English, spent the entirity of 33-year playing and managerial career in his native Italy before the move to Vicarage Road in July.
He told the Corriere dello Sport he had come close to working with the Pozzo family, who also own Udinese, in the past – but only following Quique Sanchez Flores’ departure from the club in May did he get the chance to do so.
“Gino is an Italian president that shares my ideas about football,” he said. “I was looking for a program that shared technical and club matters and here I found it.
“I can say that I had a couple of requests to work from the most prestigious clubs in the Premier League but I wanted the program, not just a seat on the bench, I wanted to work as I like.”
Mazzarri took Napoli to their highest ever position of second in Serie A in 2013, by which point he had already earned plaudits for his reigns as an emerging coach at Sampdoria and Reggina.
And it was the desire for a new challenge, with his last job in Italy an unsuccessfully brief spell at Inter Milan in 2013, which led him overseas.
“In Italy I no longer had anything to prove to myself,” he said. “As a result, I had to find new stimuli.
“The Premier is the most important league in the world, one with greater exposure, and if you do well here you can go anywhere.”
That desire to move to the English top flight was furthered by memories of Champions League ties when in charge at Napoli, who memorably knocked Manchester City out of the competition’s group stages five years ago.
And it is a memory he says he has been able to relive with Watford this season, with the atmosphere at Vicarage Road as good as many can remember.
He said: “I was fascinated, indeed struck, by the atmosphere of the English stadiums, before and during the matches.
“Each Watford game I seem to feel the same adrenaline rush as in the Champions League.”