Picture by Paul Dawson

Watford again forced to do without injured Jose Manuel Jurado

Jose Manuel Jurado has still not returned to training and is out of the game against Manchester United.

The Spanish schemer is struggling to shake off a troublesome calf injury which has kept him out of the games against Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Bournemouth. Quique Sanchez Flores described the issue as “a little problem with the calf” nearly a fortnight ago.

“No, it’s not more serious,” said the head coach this morning. “It’s an uncomfortable injury. The calf [area] is very strange. Sometimes you feel like you recuperate and then when you come back it is different. I am not worried about the injury.”

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Valon Behrami and Sebastian Prodl have also missed matches this season with calf problems. Prodl admitted his recovery took longer than expected. Jurado, 29, missed five games in October and November through a combination of hamstring and calf trouble. His absence in recent weeks has been keenly felt as Watford have lacked cohesion and invention in the final third. Sanchez Flores would certainly have called on him for tomorrow’s game, viewing his ability to keep the ball on the expansive Old Trafford pitch as vital to both Watford’s defensive and attacking plan.

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“When we will play with Ighalo, Deeney and Amrabat it is one characteristic,” explained the head coach. “When we have Jurado, Ighalo and Deeney it is a different characteristic. Jurado, I said from the beginning, is very important in our team. He’s a different player and when he’s on the pitch, we normally play better. We play better because he keeps the ball.”