Walter Mazzarri is braced to face a potential reaction from Southampton on Saturday, following their EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester United.
A late Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner snatched the trophy from under Saints’ nose at Wembley last weekend, though Mazzarri believes that disappointment could spark a positive response from Claude Puel’s men.
“Southampton played a great game against Manchester United,” he explained during his pre-match press conference.
“Maybe they are a bit disappointed because they could have gone to extra-time and maybe won the cup.
“We will see tomorrow if they react or not, nobody can know this for sure. We have confirmation, though, that they are a well organised and very strong team.”
The Hornets will be without Argentine forward Mauro Zárate, who was stretchered off during last weekend’s 1-1 draw with West Ham, for Saturday’s fixture.
Scans have since confirmed that the 29-year-old has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the remainder of the season.
“I have spoken with him almost daily, and of course we are all very disappointed and very sorry,” Mazzarri continued.
“It’s his first big injury in his whole career, and he was playing very well. He is a very important player and he was playing his best moment in that game.
“He is a player that we will miss, but of course we will wait for him and we are sure that he will come back stronger than before.”