Did not expect Palace in relegation scrap, says Mazzarri

Britain Soccer Football - Manchester United v Watford - Premier League - Old Trafford - 11/2/17 Watford manager Walter Mazzarri acknowledges fans after the game Action Images via Reuters / Jason Cairnduff/ Livepic/ Files

REUTERS - Walter Mazzarri did not expect Crystal Palace to feature in the Premier League relegation battle, the Watford manager has said ahead of his side's trip to Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Palace, under manager Sam Allardyce, who replaced Alan Pardew in December, are showing signs of improvement, winning two consecutive league games for the first time since September.

"Palace are one of those teams that, when you look at their squad, nobody thought when we started that it would have fought relegation," Mazzarri told reporters in a news conference on Thursday.

"We will play them in their best moment as they come from two positive results.

"They've got an important fan base so it won't be easy. We go to the pitch knowing we cannot commit any mistakes."

Midfielder Daryl Janmaat and Nordin Amrabat are back in the Watford squad, while midfielder Etienne Capoue will have a chance to prove his fitness ahead of the match.

"Capoue has had a fever for two days and hasn't been training so we will check tomorrow," the Italian added.

Watford, who are 13th in the standings, have picked up 12 points from their 13 away games this season. Palace are 17th with 25 points, one point ahead of Hull City a spot below.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)