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Last Updated: 14/09/19 1:26pm
Quique Sanchez Flores returns to Watford after three years since his first spell at the club
Quique Sanchez Flores admits he was not surprised to hear of Watford’s interest in him, just three years after letting him go, and outlined his plans to turn around their fortunes.
Watford sacked Javi Gracia last weekend with the club bottom of the Premier League, taking just one point from four games, and it doesn’t get much easier on Super Sunday, hosting Arsenal live on Daily Week Sports Premier League (kick-off at 4.30pm).
Sanchez Flores’ contract at Watford was not renewed at the end of the 2015/16 season, despite finishing 13th in their first season back in the top flight for eight years.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Week Sports, the Spaniard insists he only has good memories and feelings about Watford, and says any turnaround will come with the players’ mentality, and not solely their ability or tactics.
Sanchez Flores led Watford to 13th and the FA Cup semi-final in 2015/16
Asked if it was a strange feeling to return, he told Geoff Shreeves: “No. Seriously, when you go out of a club, but you have good memories, the opportunity is open to return. I did exactly the same with Getafe. It is possible.
“You have enough time to repair the feelings, if you feel hard or disappointed. Three years Is a long time in my life, especially with my age! So I had time to repair and understand everything. So it’s not a problem.
“I was not surprised [Watford approached me]. Not because I am good, but because in life it is football. It doesn’t just happen in football, but in life. How many people get back with someone? Return with the feelings for places?
“It’s not just football. We talk about football like it is the only thing in the world. Coming back for a team is the same as coming back to a relationship, or back to your kids, or back to a place you lived before. It’s just the same.
Highlights from Newcastle’s 1-1 draw with Watford in the Premier League
“It is not a drama. I never saw any part of my time at Watford being a drama, I just saw it as part of life.
Watford enjoyed a good season under Sanchez Flores in 2015/16, beating the likes of Liverpool at Vicarage Road, and Arsenal at the Emirates on their way to an FA Cup semi-final appearance.
Though Sanchez Flores says he will attempt something similar this time around, he knows football has changed even in three years, and says mental attitude is key.
“Right now the mentality is more important than the physical, or the tactical. If they are really fit in the head, they are able to do a lot of things. When you lose, you lose that power in your brain.
“We will try to do something similar. But you can never compare because it’s three years later, and the football philosophy is different now. But the most important thing is to know our situation, try to repair as soon as possible, try to change the level, the place in the league, and try to breathe well, because teams at the bottom, the players can be anxious and without confidence.
“It’s not about the coach – it’s not necessarily about Javi Gracia, we love Javi Gracia, he is amazing – but it’s not about that, it’s about the results. Results in football now are very unstable, it’s impossible to know what will happen, because every single match is really tough.
Javi Gracia was sacked last weekend
“The situation of the team now is making the players a little bit weak, so the most important thing is to recuperate the players and give more spirit and confidence that they can win.”
For Sanchez Flores, the restart begins with defence, and references his love for basketball and how many team sports’ success is down to the strength of the back line.
“Is [defence] our biggest problem? Yes. We need to recognise the importance of the defence. Not just football, but in all sports. I follow a lot of NBA, since I was a kid. I followed the last finals, with Toronto Raptors and Golden State, and Toronto have a good team in offensive too, and they won the series.
“In the last match, when they won, the journalists went straight to the coach to ask: ‘What was the key? How did you beat the Warriors?’ He said that the key was the passion and the defence.
“For every single collective team sport, it is very important to defend. It’s the same if you’re playing handball, football, basketball, hockey. If you don’t have a good defence, it is difficult to achieve your objectives.”
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