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Quique: “I’ll remember fans’ send off forever”

Quique Sanchez Flores says he will always fondly remember the emotional farewell Watford fans afforded him at Vicarage Road this afternoon.

The charming Spaniard will leave Watford this summer after he and the club decided to part ways. He departs as the first man to keep the Hornets in the Premier League, an achievement that supporters, no matter the disappointing end to the campaign, appreciate and certainly won’t forget in a hurry.

It’s why in the dying moments of Watford’s final home game of the season against Sunderland, which ended in a 2-2 draw, the Watford fans inside Vicarage Road serenaded Sanchez Flores for the last time. He admits the reception he was given left him feeling very emotional.

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“That will be in my head forever,” the 51-year-old said. “I’ve always felt protected by the fans. They have been lovely and I love them. It showed me the fans have enjoyed the experience of this season. They have enjoyed our work. They were saying thank you and being grateful. I am completely happy with them. I was emotional.

“This year has proven to me that football isn’t just about mentality, tactics, technique and physical levels. It’s about emotions and that is so important when you’re building a team. We have tried to transmit the exact emotions we have to the fans all season.”

Sanchez Flores was joined by his three sons, including the twins, and daughter on the pitch after the game. They slowly made their way around Vicarage Road, alongside the first team, with the Watford head coach waving and applauding the supporters who remained in the stadium long after kick-off.

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“I wanted my kids to have the experience,” Sanchez Flores said. “Yesterday, when I was with them, I said: ‘When we go around the pitch after the game I want you with me and enjoy’.

“When I coached at Atletico Madrid a few years ago they were too young to really take in the experience and the police were there stopping everything. But today they lived something special. It was a nice feeling for all of us.”