Quique Sanchez Flores has won the Europa League, the European Super Cup, ended Benfica’s four-year trophy drought and won two domestic competitions in the land of milk and honey in the UAE. The Spaniard has now set his sights on a trip to Wembley in the greatest club knockout cup competition of them all.
Ruud Gullit and Mark Lawrenson yesterday paired Watford with Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup and a win, at home against Championship opposition later this month, would put the Hornets one win away from a semi-final at the home of English football.
“I’m happy because all Watford fans can dream and think about that possibility,” Sanchez Flores said after Saturday’s last-gasp win over Nottingham Forest. “This is our target. I have told the players how important it is to respect this great competition in England. It’s very important to respect the 4,000 fans that have followed us. We are happy to play in the next round and we want to enjoy every match. Every time you win you have the opportunity to transmit positive energy. In this case I am happy to avoid the replay and this win is very important for us. I am very positive and during the match I think we deserved to win.”
Sanchez Flores has achieved the perfect outcome in the last two rounds. He’s rested some of his top performers, given some peripheral players a run out, avoided a dreaded replay and picked up the kind of momentum that only winning games can bring. Adlène Guedioura is grateful for the cup run as it’s provided him with 180 minutes of much-needed action.
“It’s important for everyone because the FA Cup is a special cup,” said Guedioura. “To get to Wembley and go far and play big teams and maybe even get into Europe is great,” Guedioura said. “Of course I think it is important for the club, the fans and the players. Some players have never played at Wembley and I have the chance to go there. It’s going to be taken round after round but why not?”
- Additional reporting by David Anderson