Friday 20 April 2018

Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin reveals good relationship with Watford owners

Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin has been linked with the Watford job.
Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin has been linked with the Watford job.

Swansea boss Francesco Guidolin admits he has a good relationship with Watford's Pozzo-owning family after being linked with the Hornets' job.

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores took the club into the Barclays Premier League last season, but the Spaniard has come under increasing scrutiny following a slump during the second half of this campaign.

They have won just twice in 11 league games in slipping from seventh to 12th, and after Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace the club said it would discuss Flores' future at the end of the season.

"I read something about Watford and, yes, I worked with the Pozzo family for five years in Udinese," said head coach Guidolin.

"We worked very well together, we were a little club in Italy and many younger players, like Alexis Sanchez for example, were good business for Udinese in going to big teams.

"In five years we were four times in the European positions, two in the Champions League play-off and two in the Europa League.

"We got to one semi-final of the Italian Cup and my memories are very good there.

"But I don't know what happens at Watford."

Guidolin has urged his players to safeguard their Barclays Premier League status once and for all against Liverpool this weekend.

The 1-0 home victory over Chelsea nearly three weeks ago took Swansea to 40 points and seemingly a sixth straight season in the top flight.

But back-to-back defeats at Newcastle and Leicester have still left Swansea with a bit of work to do as Norwich and Sunderland could yet overhaul them and plunge them into the bottom three.

"Every week I speak to my players and, at the moment, mathematically it (safety) is not sure," said Guidolin.

"We need points. After that we can speak about other situations and other problems, but all I want is to make sure we are safe mathematically."

Guidolin admits he has become familiar with the phrase "on the beach" over the last fortnight as Swansea have tailed off dramatically after taking 13 points from the previous 18 on offer.

But the Italian says it is not a case of Swansea slackening off after the Chelsea win, insisting his players "fought for 90 minutes" at Leicester last weekend despite the size of the 4-0 defeat to the prospective champions.

"No, we are not (on the beach)," said Guidolin. "It is a new word for me and I had to understand it, but for my team it is not the moment.

"I don't know if this is usual in the Premier League, but I saw Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Stoke, Watford and West Brom.

"They were in our situation for many weeks, on 39 or 40 points.

"I saw my team working very well in the training sessions and it's true we didn't have a good game against Newcastle (when Swansea lost 3-0).

"But after Chelsea it was a moment of relax. Against Leicester, no.

"We had a good warm-up - I was on the pitch - and the first half we started very well with corners and free-kicks.

"But we went 2-0 down and after that it was difficult to play against a team first in the table and who want to play in the space behind.

"It's best to say nothing when you have lost, but I have spoken to the players and they convince me they are ready to play to the final game."

Press Association

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