Sunday 20 October 2019

Sanchez Flores ignoring Premier League table as he looks to break Watford’s winless run

The Hornets boss does not want to talk about relegation and is not worried about his position.

Watford have not won in the Premier League since April – a run of 11 games (Nigel French/PA).
Watford have not won in the Premier League since April – a run of 11 games (Nigel French/PA).

By George Sessions, PA

Quique Sanchez Flores has told his Watford players to ignore relegation talk and focus on kick-starting their season with victory against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The only side still winless in the Premier League will aim to address that stat at Vicarage Road this weekend.

Success over the Blades would not move the Hornets out of the bottom three, but Sanchez Flores is still refusing to acknowledge talk of a survival battle.

“I want to talk about this word because this word ‘relegation’, it is there for three teams at the end of the season, but this is for May. You know how the dynamic of one team can change in one month or two weeks,” he said.

“I don’t remember being at the bottom with any team in my life, but anyway you have to find a way to win.

“When you play at the weekend, it is not about the position you are, it is about how you are feeling, how are your tools and the tools are the players and how they are ready to win.

“It is better not to look right now. It is better to work really hard, try to win and in some weeks maybe have a look and we can see we have improved.”

Sanchez Flores conceded he does not know his best team yet, with players like Troy Deeney out due to injury, but he talked about the importance of training the brain.

Watford have a record of two draws and five defeats in the Premier League this season and, including their poor end to the 2018-19 campaign, the Hornets have gone 11 games without a top-flight win.

But Sanchez Flores insisted: “They play like this not because they want, but because there are many things they don’t recognise that is affecting them.

“This is the kind of thing I can do and people in football can do. It’s just to know the players, how they work in the dressing room and to conserve the spirit and try to recuperate the good habits and confidence.

“This is what we have to do and we do that with conversations, corrections, images and not talking too much about what happened to us and focusing on the next match.”

When Sanchez Flores was last manager of Watford, a full pre-season was key getting his philosophy over to the squad.

He accepts now that his methods have to be implemented quicker, adding: “I need to assume the situation and I know (that) everything I did four years ago I need to do again, but quicker.”

Club record signing Ismaila Sarr made his first league start in the 2-0 loss away to Wolves last weekend, but Sanchez Flores called for patience with the 21-year-old.

“He is a very good player, he understands very well even if he doesn’t speak English, because he has Etienne Capoue like a Dad in the training ground, so he understands everything,” the Watford manager said.

“Potentially he can start because he has a lot of skills, physically he is very good, but we need to care about him.”

Even though Sanchez Flores only returned on September 7, Watford’s dire league form has increased the pressure on everyone at the club.

The Spaniard was asked if he had received any guarantees he would still be in charge after the international break, should the Hornets fail to win against Sheffield United.

“I have no idea, I think you are a little bit worried, but I shouldn’t be worried,” he responded.

“This is not a big concern for a journalist, it should be a big concern for the coach, but if the coach says I am not worried, it should be enough.”

PA Media

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