Quique Sanchez Flores has described Nordin Amrabat as “like a knife in the offensive line” as he contemplates starting him in a home league game for the first time on Saturday.
The head coach recommended the key decision makers moved to sign the Malaga forward in January and the club delivered, bringing the Moroccan international to Vicarage Road for a club record fee of £6.2m. Sanchez Flores has started Amrabat three times, twice in the cup and again at Crystal Palace when Jose Manuel Jurado was injured. Given that Jurado and Amrabat are yet to start a game together, it looks like they are vying for one spot against Bournemouth, providing Jurado recovers from a calf problem.
Sanchez Flores has used Amrabat in his favoured position out wide, as a central striker and as the No.10. The head coach likes his directness.
“I think Nordin helps the team a lot,” said Sanchez Flores. “He is a different kind of player in the way he makes his vertical runs. He is a very good player. He is like a knife in the offensive line and, at the moment, we understand Nordin and he understands the team. And this kind of understanding will be good for the future.”
Amrabat prefers to play on the left-wing and likes to cut in on his right foot. “Deeney and Ighalo are both good,” he said. “I can assist them to score more goals.”
Sanchez Flores tweaked his role at half-time of the FA Cup game against Leeds.
“In the first half we were not supporting enough in the last third,” Sanchez Flores explained. “We got into the last third and into the back of the defensive line through the runs of Amrabat but whenever he takes the ball we need players in the box and this is the problem. Abdi, Deeney and Capoue came a bit later into the box. We analysed the defensive line of Leeds but the second line was a little bit different. We played well and we had the control but in the second half we were much better in the box and this is important.”
- Additional reporting by Charlie Doris