Quique Sanchez Flores believes the difference between Watford and already relegated Aston Villa “isn’t too much” ahead of the two sides meeting at Vicarage Road this afternoon
Villa have endured a wretched season. They have claimed only 16 points under three different head coaches and mustered just three wins. The fact they’ve racked up more off-field controversies than victories sums up Villa’s season.
They arrive at Vicarage Road on the back of ten successive losses. Anything but a Watford win, especially now the club are safe, will be deemed a failure. Sanchez Flores celebrated the 3-2 win at Villa Park with a fist pump as he went down the tunnel as he knew the significance of the three points, but victories over Villa since have become a formality. They are bankers. Sanchez Flores has, though, seen signs of improvement under caretaker manager Eric Black.
“The difference between Aston Villa and Watford isn’t too much,” the Watford head coach said. “We need to respect Aston Villa and I am sad we’re playing against players who have been relegated. I admire a lot about them. They are historic team in the Premier League and we know perfectly their squad. At the start of the season the potential of this team is very high – higher than the possibilities for Watford. But life is like this. I can say for sure they are not an easy match. They are playing well and are trying to show everyone relegation isn’t fair. They have good players and we will have to take care.”
This afternoon’s game will be Watford’s first at Vicarage Road since we confirmed Sanchez Flores will leave the Hornets in the summer. The Spaniard hasn’t yet, we gather, been formally told by the club his services will no longer be needed beyond the current campaign but he has been involved in football long enough to know when something is up.
It is perhaps why Sanchez Flores felt the need to stress, on several occasions, what he has achieved at Vicarage Road this season shouldn’t be taken for granted. After all, keeping a newly promoted side in the Premier League is no mean feat. Let alone with that side being all but safe by February.
“That’s why we need to be proud,” he said. “I am happy that people will remember this season well because teams like Aston Villa, Newcastle and Sunderland are fighting to survive. Watford were safe a long time ago and that’s because we did something very good.
“Watford fans are really clever and that’s why they’ve enjoyed this season. They know Watford’s history and they know the last two occasions the club has been promoted they have been relegated. They have been lovely with me since the beginning. They know we’re working in an honest way. We prepare and work for them.”