Saturday 16 December 2017

Quique Sanchez Flores: Watford players may be distracted by FA Cup semi-final

Quique Sanchez Flores' team will play at Wembley on April 24
Quique Sanchez Flores' team will play at Wembley on April 24

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores admits it may be impossible to stop his players thinking ahead to their Wembley FA Cup semi-final.

The Hornets are without a Barclays Premier League in six games and Flores has conceded they may not yet be completely safe with the 38 points they have accrued so far this season.

They face a trip to West Brom on Saturday before taking on West Ham at Upton Park in midweek ahead of their semi-final meeting against Crystal Palace.

"It's possible," said Flores when asked if his players may be looking ahead to Wembley on April 24.

"I don't want to put a lot of ideas to the players and they want to play and train well every day. But maybe they have the distraction of the FA Cup, it's normal.

"I was talking to Roberto Martinez after the match against Everton because he has experience of that. He told me, 'Quique, it's impossible to stop that. The FA Cup is very important in England. It's impossible to stop the players taking distractions.'"

Flores, who won the Europa League and Super Cup during his time in charge of Atletico Madrid, knows all of his players would rather feature at the national stadium than in Saturday's clash at the Hawthorns - but he will keep his mind focused and work to do the same with his squad.

"It's difficult to stop them (thinking ahead)," he added.

"But I understand that because they play 32 matches in the league and we are getting close to the objective, so it's special to play at Wembley.

"In this moment if you ask the players, 'Do you prefer to play at Wembley or against West Brom?' everyone says, 'I want to play at Wembley'.

"But I say no. The most important match is the next one. It's part of the process when you're building a group and their mentality. It's about hard work, not just the technical, tactics and systems.

"Maybe it means the players are thinking more about the FA Cup than the Premier League.

"But the coach fights a lot against these thoughts because we want to focus on the next game and all the time you can collect good feelings and win.

"I'm not the kind of person to think about what is happening in one week. I don't know what will happen tomorrow."

Press Association

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