Quique Sanchez Flores says Nathan Ake’s performances have dipped over the past two months, which is why the Chelsea loanee has been omitted from the XI for four of the last six matches.
Ake was left out of the squad altogether against Everton, rested against West Ham United with the FA Cup semi-final in mind but was then left warming the bench against Aston Villa and Liverpool.
“I feel Ake has lost a lot his good performance over the last two months,” Sanchez Flores said. “I spoke with him and he told me that maybe it is because it is the first time he has played a lot of matches in the Premier League. He feels a little tired. I trust him a lot but when a player loses their shape we have to change. The level of competition is high. If you are not ready then you will not be in the first XI.”
Chelsea have kept a close eye on the development of a player they tied to a five-year deal before sending him out on loan. Paulo Ferreira, one of the Blues’ coaches responsible for overseeing their army of loanees, has been to London Colney at least twice to check on the progress of the Holland Under-21 captain.
“Paulo Ferreira, as a scout of Chelsea and me, as the head coach of Watford, both agree he has had a very good season in general,” Sanchez Flores told us. “That hasn’t been a surprise to us. But the level at Chelsea, if we are completely honest, is a lot higher than Watford. So he has to improve and he needs to learn. Ake is someone who loves this profession and he will try and get better. Sometimes another loan is important. At Atletico and Benfica, there were players who had one season on loan and proved enough. Other players needed another loan to complete their progress.”