Quique Sanchez Flores stressed he will enter the final two games of the season determined to enjoy the experience and proudly reflect on the job he has achieved, despite the games against Norwich and Sunderland being played out amid a curious backdrop of who will replace him as Watford head coach.
Sanchez Flores may not like it or agree with it but he knows the club, rightly or wrongly, will go in another direction next season. He’s not daft. There is talk he already has another job lined up, but he will leave Watford with a heavy heart in what is sure to be an emotional farewell on Sunday. He’s looked a bit browbeaten in recent weeks so we asked him if the job is still giving him pleasure.
“Of course,” he said. “Of course I am enjoying it. I am really, really realistic with the situation. When I can see Newcastle, Sunderland, Norwich and Aston Villa are still fighting, still suffering and waiting until the last moment to see what happens and we are in this position, safe a long time ago and enjoying this experience. It’s amazing. It’s amazing for Watford, amazing for Watford fans and it’s amazing for the coaches. I enjoy and I feel lucky we are able to enjoy this first year in the Premier League.”
Who will be coaching them in year two in the Premier League is a hot topic. Respected journalist Duncan Castles wrote in the Sunday Times that Watford had sounded out Roberto Di Matteo about the impending vacancy. A club source has denied that, along with stories linking them with a move for former Argentina coach Marcelo Bielsa, former Udinese and now Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin and Paco Jemez, the coach at Rayo Vallecano who would fit the bill. Manuel Pellegrini and Rafa Benitez would, you presume, be out of Watford’s reach in terms of salary and stature. If the club know who they want, which you suspect they do, then it remains a closely-guarded secret.
“There has been loads of talk of late,” Ben Watson told Sky Sports in the only non-club player interview sanctioned on Sunday. All the other players were instructed to retreat into silence in a written media blackout for the second successive week. “Every one of the boys is behind the manager so we are going to forget about all that [the speculation] and get on with the next game.”
Sanchez Flores is long enough in the tooth to know how it all works. He has been on both sides of the coin. He left Getafe for bigger and better things after keeping them up in his first season but he was eventually fired by Valencia.
“You need to learn to live with these kind of things and sometimes life is ridiculous,” he said on Sunday when asked, by one of the daily tabloid newspapers, if speculation about his future was ridiculous. “But it’s under my control and I’m not afraid about anything. Normally I go to the places where I feel, so I can decide my future so I don’t have a problem.”