Watford ended an intensive training programme in Austria with a credible goalless draw against Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, as they continued their preparation for the new Premier League season in three weeks time.
"Making steady progress"
Wing-back Ikechi Anya believes that the North London club are "making steady progress" under new manager Walter Mazzarri. The 28 year old claims "we're all learning what the new manager wants from us and the new players are getting used to the system".
The "system" Anya refers to is the favoured 3-5-2 formation that Mazzarri has been exploring, a set up that mirrors the one used by his home nation Italy during Euro 2016. Anya suggested the tactics are working with "recent results and performances showing we are heading in the right direction".
Anya enjoying the "freedom" of the new formation
Now unbeaten in four pre-season fixtures, Anya claimed the side are "getting that winning feeling" in preparations that are "all about momentum". The Scottish international himself is enjoying the new regime claiming his fondness for the "freedom it [the formation] gives me".
Anya has backed that statement up on the pitch, providing an attacking threat on numerous occasions against Anzhi. He suggests the Hornets have "an excellent squad" that have been working hard during a week in Austria that has seen double sessions every day.
With Mazzari bringing in a handful of new faces already this summer, Anya believes "some players are going to be disappointed come the 13th if they do not make the starting line-up". After a productive end to last season and a promising start to pre-season, Anya will be hoping that he can cement a place in the starting eleven for Watford's opening fixture of the 2015-16 season against Southampton.
Anya has now made over 123 league appearances for the Hornets and has established himself as a key asset to the squad over he past four seasons since joining from Granada in Spain.