Quique Sanchez Flores says he understands why Watford fans cheered his decision to bring off Juan Carlos Paredes against Aston Villa, but insists the full-back warrants a degree of professional respect.
The Ecuadorian has been in and out of the Watford side this season, starting just nine matches in all competitions. He and Allan Nyom, in a move never to be repeated, both started the reverse fixture at Villa Park in November. Paredes was handed a chance to impress against Villa this afternoon as Sanchez Flores wanted more technical players in his side. He feels Paredes offers more in possession than the Cameroon international.
His 56 minutes were littered with defensive errors and poor choices when in possession. It was surprising Sanchez Flores didn’t substitute the defender at half-time. Eleven minutes into the second half the Spaniard replaced Paredes with Steven Berghuis, who would go on to help Watford win the game. It said a lot about how Paredes played and the lack of faith in Nyom that Almen Abdi, of all people, was asked to play at right-back when Paredes was hooked amid a cacophony of ironic cheers.
“I spoke to him [Paredes] when the match was finished,” Sanchez Flores told us after Watford’s 3-2 win. “I understand the Watford fans, when a player isn’t playing well, will have their opinion and they have the right to protest. The people in the stands have opinion and I love it. But, for me, it was important to support Paredes. He helped Watford’s promotion last year and is an important player for his national team, Ecuador. We need to respect this player. I took him out of the match but he is a good player.”
Paredes trotted off and went straight down the tunnel, as did Jose Manuel Jurado. “I don’t like that,” said Rene Gilmartin in commentary. “I saw Capoue do it at Arsenal.”
Paredes said after the away game at Leicester he was looking for a move and it would be no surprise if he was moved on in the summer. He wasn’t even in the 19 at Wembley so it was a shock that he was restored here. Ikechi Anya swapped Wembley roles with Nathan Ake while there was no place in the matchday squad for Valon Behrami or Jose Holebas. Sanchez Flores confirmed after the victory that Holebas wasn’t injured. Behrami, according to the head coach, was missing because of an injury he suffered in training.