Not one to stand still – those who play five-a-side with Quique Sanchez Flores in midweek say he is always on the move – Watford’s head coach is keen to make sure the Hornets continue to outperform today’s fellow promoted opponents.
The Hornets are six places above Eddie Howe’s side after registering three more wins and harvesting eight more points from 26 games. Speaking without a trace of arrogance, Sanchez Flores said: “At this moment we are better but if we want to continue to be better, we must improve.”
The head coach acknowledged Bournemouth gave his side some problems to solve during the first half at the Vitality Stadium, a 45 minutes that ranks as among Watford’s poorest this season. “We played well in the second half, they play better in the first half,” said Watford’s head coach. “What I learn is that they have a very good pack, a very good block, like a team and they play well offensively in the sides. They have a plan and we need to think a little bit.”
Similarly, Eddie Howe will not be sleeping easy over a visit to Vicarage Road where teams are given a searching examination of their mental fortitude and tactical nous.
“They have done incredibly well this season,” conceded Howe at his press conference yesterday morning. “They will be hard to beat and hard to break down. We’ve had some great tussles with them over the years, so it’s no surprise for me to see them doing so well. Watford have two great goalscorers. They were the best front pair that we played against last season.”
Despite the hauls by Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney last season, Bournemouth actually scored seven more goals than Watford last season.
“Bournemouth are a very good team,” said Sanchez Flores. “They are a team, like us, who are promoted and we know from the beginning Bournemouth are fighting for the same objective. We need to respect Bournemouth. There is good balance between both teams and both teams are working really well. They have very professional players, the manager is good and the owner at Bournemouth is very clear in his mind what he wants from the team. I was analysing this team during the week. They work very well, like a pack, they concede space and look dangerous when they make a counterattack. They have very good players. We respect them a lot.”
Watford go into the game on the back of one defeat in six and are surfing a wave of optimism after reaching the quarter-final of the FA Cup.
“We had good results in the cup and in the league in the last month,” said Sanchez Flores. “We are ready to play well, we have a good dynamic. We are close to our objective. It’s a very important match. The idea is to be competitive, to play well, to add points.”