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‘We are not thinking about Palace revenge,’ says Abdi as FA Cup semi-final date announced

We are not sure where Quique Sanchez Flores was today when he learned that Watford will play Crystal Palace in the semi-final of the FA Cup on Sunday April 24, but the head coach was not sitting in front of the TV watching the One Show on Monday when the draw was made.

“I was playing football at this moment,” he joked. “But we were playing against a lot of Watford fans and they were saying,  ‘Do you mind if we say the opponent?’

‘No, I don’t mind,’ I said, as we have to play against someone.

‘It’s Palace,’ they said. ‘Ok, thank you, now we keep playing.'”

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Picture by Franziska Empl

The exchange summed up Sanchez Flores’ passion to keep playing, at the age of 51, says a lot about his winning mentality, even in a small-sided kickabout, and how he’s not looking beyond the game against Stoke City tomorrow. The semi-final cup opponents can wait. When he does sit down and look at the schedule, the head coach will see the game gives him an extra day to prepare following the midweek Premier League game with West Ham United.

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Almen Abdi is one of only four survivors from the team that lost to Palace in the play-off final at Wembley in 2013.

“We won’t be thinking about revenge,” he told us yesterday. “It is just another tough cup game. Going to Wembley will be fantastic. I remember going to the stadium for the first time, the experience was amazing because there were so many Watford fans there. It doesn’t matter who we were drawn against. It will be tough. So we won’t be thinking about revenge because it was so long ago. Everyone has forgotten what happened.”

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