Walter Mazzarri is confident next season will see the best of his Watford squad and is predicting an “easier” season.
The Italian is facing up to yet another injury crisis ahead of Saturday’s trip to second-placed Tottenham.
The Hornets are set to be without former Spurs centre-back Younes Kaboul and Swiss defender Sebastian Prodl, while Miguel Britos is suspended.
It is a situation Mazzarri has needed to deal with on all too regular a basis in his first campaign at the helm since replacing Quique Sanchez Flores.
Despite continued selection issues, the former Sampdoria, Napoli and Inter Milan boss has been able to oversee a recent improvement in form with back-to-back wins which ended a run of three defeats from the previous four matches.
Watford are currently in 10th place with 37 points and look set to once again secure their top-flight status.
Mazzarri believes everyone at Vicarage Road should then start to look up the table.
“My experience is that the first year is more difficult and the second is easier,” the Hornets boss told a press conference.
“The squad know your philosophy and the players who come after that will have an advantage, because players will be able to help them.”
Mazzarri may well look to freshen up the squad over the summer, but before then wants everyone focused on the job in hand and is determined to see though the Watford “project.”
He said: “There are two things we need to see before the season ends: mentality and we need a winning mentality, then we will see for next season who wants to stay in the squad.
“I signed a three-year contract and it is clear I want to stay.
“In football things change, but we have a project with the president of the club and I want to see it through to the end.”
Chelsea suffered a surprise home defeat by relegation-battlers Crystal Palace last weekend, but bounced straight back with victory over Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Tottenham left it late to come from behind and win 3-1 at Swansea to keep themselves still in contention.
Mazzarri said: “I think Chelsea has the advantage with seven or eight games left, but Tottenham have been really good and deserve at least to be in second place.”
While the Watford boss accepts his side will face Spurs ”without a defence”, Mazzarri is determined his players’ mindset will be the same as it was when they set about beating West Brom in midweek.
“We played on Tuesday the way I like to play – fast with lots of possession. I would have liked to express this against Tottenham, with the same team,” he said.