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Quique: ‘Gino Pozzo and I shook hands, we understand the decision’

Quique Sanchez Flores says he and Watford owner Gino Pozzo shook hands at the end of the “friendly” meeting yesterday in which it was confirmed the Spaniard would leave the Hornets in the summer.

It has been one of the worst kept secrets that Sanchez Flores would be departing Vicarage Road in the summer, despite being the first Watford boss to steer the club to Premier League safety. Yet the 51-year-old wasn’t officially told until he met formally with the club’s hierarchy to reflect on the campaign yesterday.

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“It was a private meeting and it’s better to keep it that,” the Watford head coach said. “We shook hands and he is grateful for the season. He [Pozzo] knows perfectly that the results have been very good. But the project will be different without me. I have a good relationship with him. We understand everything. It isn’t a misunderstanding just we look at the season in a different point of view. Nothing more. So when the point of view is different it is better to separate. Unfortunately we have a clause that is one year plus another one if we choose. We didn’t have to break the contract. It was just whether we renew. If the condition wasn’t good, we didn’t renew.”

Sanchez Flores leaves Watford as an established Premier League club, creating a platform to build on for the next head coach, which is set to be Walter Mazzarri. Sanchez Flores also guided Watford to the semi-final of the FA Cup.

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“I am not the person to value my work,” he said. “You the media can do that. The only time I’ve trained another team which has just been promoted was 12 years ago at Getafe and the situation, more or less, was the same. We didn’t suffer during the season and finished on 47 points. It was similar. There, they understood it was a big success.”

The club’s decision-makers recalibrated the expectation levels at Christmas amid a four-game winning run that culminated in a thrilling win over Liverpool. They altered their recruitment plans and wanted the team and the club to operate like the second half of the season was a dress rehearsal for year two in the Premier League.

“I never received information about changing the target because that was dangerous,” said Sanchez Flores. “It was important to keep our feet on the ground and remain realists. Finally we end in the position we deserve. All the clubs I’ve trained before, I believe I’ve left the base there that the next manager can use if they want. The players have worked really well. They know perfectly what they have to do to be competitive.”