Sport Soccer

Thursday 19 April 2018

Flores relishing Martinez meeting

Quique Sanchez Flores, pictured, is looking forward to pitting his wits against countryman Roberto Martinez
Quique Sanchez Flores, pictured, is looking forward to pitting his wits against countryman Roberto Martinez

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores says Roberto Martinez is widely considered as a thoroughbred Englishman back in his native Spain.

Martinez faces off against Flores in an all-Spanish affair on Saturday as Watford travel to Everton for their first match back in the Premier League in eight years.

Martinez, 42, moved from his homeland to join Wigan in 1995. He went on to play for Motherwell, Walsall, Swansea and Chester before managing at both Swansea and Wigan and now Everton.

"I think the opportunity to start in the Premier League against Roberto Martinez is a little bit lovely," said Flores, who takes charge of his first competitive match since he replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as Watford boss in June.

"Roberto was playing for a long time in English teams so he is growing here. For us he understands perfectly the culture of the Premier League, the culture of the teams, the citizens in England.

"So we consider Roberto more an English person than Spanish."

Watford have spent more than £20million this summer in creating one of the most diverse dressing rooms in football.

They will start the season with 10 new signings and boast 22 different nationalities.

And Flores, whose appointment in June was the fifth managerial change at Vicarage Road inside a year, says he has the full backing of the club's Italian owner, Giampaolo Pozzo, heading into the new campaign.

Flores said: "We have a great leader. I know Mr Pozzo, he has good experience and I can feel, from my meetings with him, that he understands not only English football but also the leagues in Spain and Italy.

"He has entrusted me with running his team here. We talk many times about the players we need to collaborate and we are confident with this conference of our knowledge."

Watford are odds-on with the bookmakers to go straight back down to the Championship, but Flores has urged his squad to ignore such gloomy predictions.

"We are favourite for relegation but we are working every day of the season to remove this idea from our mind," he said.

"I think this dressing room and these players are ready to remove the idea that we are candidates for relegation.

"The idea I have for the players is that we know we are working to eliminate that feeling and we need to transmit this idea on to the pitch."

Press Association

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