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Quique: ‘I had concerns about managerial changes before I joined’

A downbeat Quique Sanchez Flores admitted this morning he had reservations about Watford’s high managerial turnover when he was weighing up whether to join the Hornets in the summer.

We revealed yesterday that the Spaniard will leave the Hornets at the end of the season, despite guiding the club to Premier League safety and an FA Cup semi-final.

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Picture via BT Sport

Watford’s downturn in form since Christmas – in addition to several off-field concerns, all of which can be read about in this week’s WD Sport newspaper – has resulted in the club’s powerbrokers, owner Gino Pozzo and chief executive Scott Duxbury, deciding to end Sanchez Flores’ reign at Vicarage Road after one season.

It means this summer the Hornets will be searching for their sixth head in the space of two years. Last season, en route to winning promotion from the Championship, four different head coaches had spells in charge of the Watford side. It was a managerial merry-go-round which Sanchez Flores looked into before agreeing to take charge last summer. He will become part of it when the season ends.

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“When I sign with one club I check everything, every condition around me and my staff to be happy,” the Spaniard said. “Probably this is a point [when looking over the managerial history] we had doubts. But in my career there was only one occasion where I was sacked and that was at Valencia, so I didn’t have reason to have doubts about me. I was really safe thinking about coming here. I felt we were able to achieve our objectives.”

Sanchez Flores has done just that, ensuring Watford will play a second successive season of Premier League football for the first time. But it isn’t enough to save him and, while he may not admit it, the 51-year-old knows he is on his way out.

“I never plan long-term for anything as I know how life moves,” he said. “I never plan long in my personal life or my professional life because life is full of surprises.”

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Throughout this morning’s press conference, held to preview the game with Aston Villa, he faced several questions about his future. It was uncomfortable for him. He avoided the subject as best he could but he gave telling answers to certain questions.

  • He was asked about whether he, no matter the decision of the club, wanted to stay at Watford beyond this season.“This is not the question for me now,” he said. “Right now I have to focus for the next four matches. So that’s not the question for me. It’s not a good moment for that.”
  • He was asked if he had spoken to Gino Pozzo about his future this week.“I speak with the owner like always, in the same way,” he said. “We respect each other and have worked together for a long time. We’ve built this team and wanted to do the best this season. Our relationship is always the same. It’s good.”
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  • He was asked about whether he felt his achievements this season were appreciated by the club’s owner, staff, players and fans alike. “For sure the fans, because I know they have enjoyed it and they appreciate how difficult to get to this point and be safe. I don’t know more,” he said.
  • He was asked whether Premier League owners are far too quick to pull the trigger and dismiss head coaches. “I only know the kind of people I want to work with. That’s the only thing I can say. In the last four or five years I work from my feelings. I work around people I feel completely protected with. These are my feelings. When we finish the season I will check what the conditions but I need to feel happy.”

Remember, there are three pages of analysis on the reasons behind Sanchez Flores’ fall from grace, plus the thoughts of Malky Mackay, in our newspaper, which is out in the shops this morning.

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