Sánchez Flores pays the price
Quique Sánchez Flores has paid the price for Watford’s run of poor form and has been sacked following the 2-1 defeat against Southampton on Saturday.
Sánchez Flores had previously taken charge of Watford for the 2015-16 season, securing their status in the Premier League, and was given the task of guiding the team out of the relegation zone on 7th September, taking over from Javi Gracia.
However, the Spanish coach was unable to provide the lift that the team needed, winning only one of his 10 games in charge, despite some creditable draws against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal
That single victory, against Norwich City, shortly before the international break, appeared to have showed that the team was on the up, but two disappointing defeats followed – at home to Burnley and then this weekend’s 2-1 loss against fellow relegation candidates Southampton – and it seems that the second of those defeats was the final straw for the Watford hierarchy.
Speaking about the decision, the Watford chairman Scott Duxbury praised Sánchez Flores’ integrity and determination, but cited results as the reason for his sacking, and pledged that the new manager would have the required backing to steer the club to safety:
“The appointment of a new head coach is imminent, and with nearly two-thirds of the season remaining, we will provide all the support necessary to make the coming months successful.”
Former Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton is among the favourites to get the job with sports betting companies, but whoever takes over will face a tough challenge, given that the Hornets have picked up only eight points from their first 14 games, and are six points adrift of safety.
That task will be made harder by the fact that there are currently eight members of the first team absent through injury, and with a fixture schedule that includes games against Leicester City, Manchester United and Liverpool, the new manager will face a steep learning curve.
Whoever gets the job will be the 10th new manager in the last nine years, a list that includes Sánchez Flores twice, Gracia, the current Everton boss Marco Silva, Slaviša Jokanović and Walter Mazzarri, and questions are bound to be asked about the club’s approach to the head coach position.
However, in the short term, the Watford hierarchy will know that this is an appointment that they can’t afford to get wrong.
Words: Man Ngo