Luther Blissett admits it’s ‘strange’ and ‘odd’ that there is rising speculation about Quique Sanchez Flores’ stay beyond this season, but the striker acknowledges that it’s all part of modern-day football where the shelf life of a coach gets shorter and shorter.
Sanchez Flores strayed from his usual script last night when asked about his contractual situation, launching a robust defence of the work he has done at Vicarage Road since replacing Slavisa Jokanovic in the summer. It suggested that a man very in touch with his senses has detected a whiff that the odds of him remaining in charge of the team next season are not the certainty they once were. The fact there is a break clause in the two-year contract – which Sanchez Flores insisted on, but one that works both ways – raises the possibility of another change in the managerial hotseat.
The plan, we understand, remains for Gino Pozzo, Scott Duxbury and Sanchez Flores to convene at the training ground once the final ball of the season has been kicked and review the season in depth. Although expectations have been met and even succeeded, Pozzo and Duxbury, a pair you could never accuse of standing still, will want an explanation behind the alarming dip in form since the turn of the year and reassurance that this isn’t a case of the players downing tools once Premier League safety became a formality, that the run of three league wins and 12 goals in the last 17 league games is not reflective of a deeper malaise.
As part of a standard end-of-season review, the owner and chief executive will no doubt seek Sanchez Flores’ thoughts behind some of his increasingly strange team selections and his plans for the development of young players, especially with Isaac Success, Adalberto Peñaranda, Jerome Sinclair and Aly Malle bound for Vicarage Road. There is also, we believe, some justifiable concern over the style of play and the team’s inability to pick up points from losing positions.
Sanchez Flores has never been one to hang around at a club for too long and he will have admirers in the Premier League and on the continent. Pozzo and Duxbury, meanwhile, have never been afraid to change or upgrade their coach, most notably last summer when they declined the opportunity to extended the contract of Jokanovic, the man who coached the team to promotion.
“Our job is always to act in the best long-term interests of this football club,” said Pozzo when Billy McKinlay was replaced after just eight days in charge. “There can be no compromise on this – whatever the circumstances.”
There has been no official comment from Vicarage Road as they are, quite rightly, fully focussed on the FA Cup semi-final with Crystal Palace.
“It seems a bit odd to upset the applecart when you’ve got an FA Cup semi-final,” Blissett said on talkSPORT this afternoon. “When they [the club] have made managerial changes in the past, the next one comes in and takes it on another step. Perhaps they are thinking the same way now. It is strange when this comes up but should we be surprised with football? There are always rumours about something, unrest here and there.”
The news that Sanchez Flores is not guaranteed to be at Vicarage Road next season has caused quite a stir on Twitter among the big-hitting football writers.
The Watford fans are split, if these three tweets are a reliable straw poll.
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