Sunday 25 September 2016

Quique Flores recalls on-field battles with 'tough' Mark Hughes

Published 22/10/2015 | 18:31

Quique Flores, pictured, remembers Mark Hughes as a tough opponent
Quique Flores, pictured, remembers Mark Hughes as a tough opponent

Watford boss Quique Flores is relieved to be facing Mark Hughes the manager not the player on Saturday when his side take on Stoke.

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Flores witnessed Hughes up close in Spain as he was playing for Valencia when the Welshman joined Barcelona from Manchester United in 1986.

The pair go head to head in the Barclays Premier League this weekend as Watford visit Stoke, looking to end the Potters' three-match winning run.

Hughes played only one season at the Nou Camp before returning to England, but the former striker still made a strong impression on Flores with his combative style of play.

"He was there for one year at Barcelona. He was stronger than me. He crashed hard into players. I remember that," Flores said.

"He was always keeping the ball with his back to goal. He was a very tough opponent.

"But you can't make such a difference as a manager. Of course Mark Hughes has the respect of the players and the league because he did everything in football.

"But fortunately we are not playing against Mark Hughes. It is the players of Watford against the players of Stoke.

"Mark and me, we are on the bench so our influences are limited in the match.

"I am not surprised the player I saw at Barcelona became a coach."

While Stoke have hit form after a poor opening to the season, Watford's bright start has turned slightly sour of late, with Flores' side now winless in three.

The Hornets sit 15th in the table, four points clear of the relegation places, but Flores insists he is not satisfied with survival.

"I am very confident in what I do and what the players are doing every week," Flores said.

"It's very positive where we are. If we are not in the bottom three and fighting for the higher positions, it's perfect.

"We are not thinking about the bottom three, we are thinking about 10th, 11th, 12th.

"Right now we are angry. We are not comfortable. Now we are 15th it is good news but we want more. We are working hard to create something special."

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