Ben Watson hopes Quique Sanchez Flores remains in charge of Watford and insists every player is behind the head coach as speculation about his future mounts.
The Spaniard signed a two-year contract last summer when he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic, but his position is under scrutiny, despite keeping the Hornets in the Premier League and reaching an FA Cup semi-final.
“I thought he would be up for manager of the year,” said Watson after Watford limply exited the FA Cup, 2-1 against Crystal Palace. “He’s been incredible for us,” said the midfielder. “That’s football. I don’t know what’s going on. If there’s speculation, there’s speculation. There’s not much we can do about it. Everyone in that dressing room hopes he stays.
“He’s been fantastic this season. He’s brought different ideas and he and his staff have been great. To have a team joint 11th in the Premier League and in an FA Cup semi-final … there’s not much more he can do. This is what happens in football, managers come and go. Me personally, I hope he stays. Everyone in that changing room hopes he stays.”
Sanchez Flores was asked about staying at Vicarage Road after the game and told BT Sport: “My contract finishes in June and me and the club have the possibility to talk about this. We have four more matches to play. Our main objective in the league is done. I don’t need to justify anything. I don’t want to talk about me.”
He was asked the same question in his briefing with the written media.
“I don’t understand what happened this week,” he said. “I know what I am talking about with the people who are working by my side at my club. I was sad because I didn’t understand why it was necessary to talk about me. The target [of staying in the Premier League] is done. People should be happy. If we are working towards a target and the players get that target and are still not happy, I am sad.
“I am happy that the target is done and the future of Watford is safe. We’ve built a base this year. I have one year left on my contract and if the club want to talk with me I am open. Then we will see. It isn’t necessary to say this is a bad season, it’s been amazing. I have an idea of what this season has been for Watford but I don’t want to justify what we’ve done during the season. It’s clear.”
Craig Cathcart also gave Flores his backing, admitting his surprise that the head coach’s future was even a point of discussion. “It’s hard to believe it’s actually being spoken about,” said the Ulsterman. “For Watford to come up, do as well as we have done and reach the FA Cup semi-finals, we couldn’t wish for a better season. There’s no problems from within the squad. The players are happy, the manager is happy and the staff are happy as well.
“He’s defensively really solid so it’s been really good to work with him and I definitely think I’ve become a better player for working with him this season. Hopefully that will continue in the future as well.”
However, plenty of fans were unhappy with the head coach after Watford failed to turn up at Wembley this afternoon.