Thursday 29 September 2016

Watford set to sack Sanchez Flores despite guiding club to 12th place and Wembley semi-final

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Published 27/04/2016 | 20:09

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has seen speculation over his future, but the club insist no change is imminent
Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores has seen speculation over his future, but the club insist no change is imminent

Quique Sanchez Flores is facing the sack as Watford head coach at the end of the season.

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Recent results have been so poor that owner Gino Pozzo is close to dismissing Sanchez Flores and making his seventh head coach appointment at the club this summer.

Watford performed initially well this season, reaching the FA Cup semi-final and securing safety in the Premier League, reaching 41 points earlier this month. But Watford were up in seventh place at Christmas, since when they have shown relegation form, taking just 12 points from 16 games.

That collapse in form has alarmed the Pozzo family, who are now moving decisively towards removing Sanchez Flores at the end of the season and appointing a new manager this summer. Sanchez Flores has a 12-month break clause in the contract he signed last year.

The Pozzos are no strangers to ruthless decisions, having decided against renewing the contract of Slavisa Jokanovic - their fourth manager of the season - last summer even after he guided Watford back into the Premier League. That was when they decided to appoint Sanchez Flores, formerly coach of Valencia and Atletico Madrid.

Watford’s early form suggested that they were right, and a 3-0 defeat of Liverpool on 20 December was their fourth in a row in the league, moving them to seventh in the table. But they have won just three league games since – against Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion – and dropped back down the table. While the side have been on a good run in the FA Cup, reaching the semi-final which they lost to Crystal Palace on Sunday, that has not been enough to mask the downturn in league results.

Sanchez Flores admitted earlier this month that his players had taken their feet off the gas since reaching 37 Premier League points in February. “It is not about Wembley,” Sanchez Flores explained, “it is more about the sum of the points that we reached, 37 points. It was a big, big effort to get that in February. Then we needed to rest a little bit. But we are a bit too long in this rest.”

(© Independent News Service)

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