“The staff are very clear what is the task,” says Quique as Arsenal plan starts

Quique Sanchez Flores’ assistant coaches will earn their corn this week.

After ripping up the advanced preparation work they would have done, just in case, on Hull City, Sanchez Flores and Antonio Diaz Carlavilla will this morning begin the process of attempting to plot the downfall of Arsenal in collaboration with Cote, the team analyst. It is hard to imagine anyone in the league pays greater attention to the opposition that Sanchez Flores.

Picture by Paul Dawson

“Me and Antonio study more during the week the opponent,” Sanchez Flores told us. “The first view is Antonio, the second and definitive view is my view. I connect with him and we have a lot of memories.”

They worked in concert in the UAE with Al Ahli and then Al Ain.

Diaz Carlavilla is the lesser seen of the two trusty Spanish assistants. He is the bespectacled one who sits in the stands and watches the game from a loftier vantage point.

Picture Alan Cozzi / Watford FC
Picture Alan Cozzi / Watford FC

Alberto Giraldez, who joined Sanchez Flores at Getafe as well as in the UAE, sits in the dugout and is spotted regularly on the sidelines of under-21 matches.

“Alberto is more on set pieces,” said the head coach.

Picture by Paul Dawson
Quique and Alberto Giraldez. Picture by Paul Dawson

Dean Austin, whose Spanish is getting better all the time, provides the local knowledge and, among things, helps Sanchez Flores gauge the temperature of the away ground they are visiting.

“I am always talking to Dean Austin about what kind of atmosphere we will play in,” he said last month. “I am always learning and trying to learn.”


Although the tie with Arsenal is a more daunting one, it does provide the coaching team with one more day to prepare and fine tune the game plan – plus they already have the advantage of having played the Gunners in October and keeping them quiet for an hour of that Premier League match. It will be all hands to the pump this week as they bid to end Arsenal’s 16-match winning streak in the competition and reach the semi-final for the sixth time.

“The staff is a group,” said Sanchez Flores. “Every single member of the staff is important. They are very clear what is the task. It is the perfect complement. Everyone is adding something interesting.”

• Watford are hoping to take a record number of away fans for a game outside of a cup semi-final, cup final or play-off game to the Emirates on Sunday. Click HERE for ticket details: