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Jose Manuel Jurado joins Quique Sanchez Flores at Espanyol

Jose Manuel Jurado has accepted the chance to play under Quique Sanchez Flores for the third time in his career, after Watford announced this evening they have accepted a bid from Espanyol.

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Sanchez Flores made Jurado, who he first worked with at Atletico Madrid, his first signing as head coach of Watford, luring him from Spartak Moscow on a three-year contract. “Quique and I knew each from Atletico Madrid,” Jurado said in a recent interview with Marca. “I know how he works so that motivated me to join his project and try to do beautiful things together.”

Picture by Paul Dawson
Picture by Paul Dawson

Jurado also said in the same interview that “for now I’m only thinking about the Premier League … I’m enjoying this experience, so I’m going to try and take advantage to the maximum and then hopefully go back to Spain” but the landscape changed once Walter Mazzarri replaced Sanchez Flores as head coach. The playmaker has become surplus to requirements.

Jurado’s output, in terms of goals and assists, has been questioned internally and by fans. He was, at times, seen to be given preferential treatment by Sanchez Flores when he was thrown straight back into the starting XI after returning from injury. But only Almen Abdi was substituted more times than Jurado who was only played in his favoured position twice, away at Everton and home to Chelsea. The then head coach also publicly rebuked Jurado for the way he headed straight down the tunnel after being substituted against Aston Villa. One source told us he got showered and went straight home.

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Picture by Paul Dawson

“We have spoken about this,” Sanchez Flores said in May. “He tried to justify his decision with me but it isn’t enough. It is not the way I like to work. We have spoken about his decision and I said that everything we have done this season has come by working as a group. Football is about the collective and we must all respect each other.”

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To his credit, however, Jurado showed up to the awards night while some of his teammates didn’t bother.

“When I was in Spartak Moscow Quique rang me one day,” said Jurado in the interview with Marca when explaining how he ended up in Watford last summer. “I already wanted to leave Russia. I had thought about trying new leagues, like the Premier League, and that clarified the path. The Premier League is always a league I wanted to play in. When the opportunity to came around I didn’t think twice. I am very satisfied with the decision I made last summer.”

Yet Jurado’s Watford career lasted just one season and 30 appearances.