The full interview: Quique Sanchez Flores on talkSPORT

Watford’s debonair head coach was the subject of the Murray Meets feature on the radio this morning. In a pre-recorded interview, he talked about his famous family, dancing at family Christmas parties and his desire to win the man-of-the-match award when he plays seven-a-side football on a Wednesday night.

On Watford’s start…

I am proud, really happy with everything. When I started this team I hoped this is what this team would be like, be a block, like a compact block. I admire a lot English football a long time ago. When I signed for Watford there were a couple of things we have to control if we are to be a good team in the Premier League. It is tough from the Championship to the Premier League. We have to play against amazing teams so it is important to control the tempo of the match and the transitions. I told them not to be afraid about the experience. We have 12 players from last year and we signed 14 players. I explain things very easy, very simple. The spine of the team is important. We took care of the spine during the summer. Most important thing is to send the same messages to the squad, that the level of excellence we want is very high. Some players have been ready to play from the start, some step by step, some with different circumstances. All players are now ready for an opportunity. The Premier League is long and we will find space for them.

Picture by Paul Dawson

On the cosmopolitan nature of the squad…

If we joke, it is madness. Sometimes we confuse each other. The Latin players are sometimes talking in English and the Swiss players in Italian. It’s very funny but I would say it’s one of our advantages. But the message is unique, it is simple  – the level of excellence has to be very high. That is the message from me. The language of football is universal.

On Heurelho Gomes…

I trust a lot in Gomes. From the beginning he has been a good leader in the dressing room and on the pitch. A lot of people talk about the mistakes but he is 15 years playing [so he will make mistakes]. When Gomes makes mistake, just once against Leicester, when I finished the game I said, ‘I love you more than ever today’. Mistakes in football is very usual.


On the recalibrating of expectations…

I love that people dream. We are playing for the fans, their dream, to do something special. With players we need to manage expectations. Our objective is to keep in the Premier League for the next year. We want to grow a lot. If we are seventh, tenth, 12th or fifth – we will not change the way we will work. I don’t like to talk about the future. It doesn’t exist. The future in football is tomorrow, the next training session and the next game.

On his famous family…

I try to avoid the pressure when in school. When you are five, you are seven people are saying, ‘You are the cousin of them, or the nephew of that or the godson of him.’ I grew up with my family around me a lot. There are a lot of singers, actresses and dancers all in my life. I was seeing art everywhere. It was amazing. I am very proud about my family. They are a working-class family. They work very hard, like humble people to achieve the top of their profession. When I was younger it was obligatory [that I had to dance]. At my aunt’s every single Christmas Day they say, ‘Ok, this is the moment of the boys’. I was playing with the football and it was my turn to dance. I got completely embarrassed. I didn’t feel inside this was my work. Di Stefano was coming every single Christmas. The time was too short. It is a shame a lot of these talented people pass away.

Picture by Paul Dawson

On his connection with the fans at Vicarage Road…

The atmosphere is very special. It is a family, it educates people and there are passionate people. If I compare with Valencia, or Atletico or Benfica, they are amazing fans – but the characteristics of the latin fans is completely different. At Vicarage Road we are living something special. I like the players, I like the squad, I love my cub, I love the place I work and the people working around me. When I feel happiness around me I am able to do a lot.

On his innate leadership skills…

When I was 12 I was organising all the tournaments in the school. I organise kids who are 11 and also kids who were 14 or 15. My character was that I was a leader all my life. When I was coach, it was a simple decision to make. When I was playing at Valencia I was 25 in 1990 and took my first course as a coach. I feel something inside me that I wanted to be a coach when I finish. I like to put passion and feeling in.

Picture by Paul Dawson

On the seven-a-side team he plays in on a Wednesday night with his staff and one of his sons…

In the first matches I didn’t know there is a man of the match. When I realise, I say ‘My god I need to get it.’ Now the challenge is to win. I want to be the man of the match. I got it two times now.

Picture by Franziska Empl

On how being one of the hippest managers in the league…

To play sport is part of the secret. I live healthy life, I run every time. Your brain and body moving is very important.