Why Quique Sanchez Flores is the perfect antidote for Watfordby Charlie Zazzera / 08 September 2019, 10:55Tweet
Watford went full Watford on Saturday after they parted ways with Javi Gracia following a return of two league wins - over relegated Fulham and Huddersfield - since early March. Only to then reappoint fellow Spaniard, Quique Sanchez Flores, 30 minutes after.
This shocked many but what wasn't a shock was the club being clinical and proactive.
The much loved Flores is now back at the Hornets helm with something to prove. Back in 2015 he was appointed Watford manager after they gained promotion to the Premier League. He secured survival early on, thrashed Liverpool 3-0, won December’s Manager of the Month, reached the FA Cup semi-final. All with Allan Nyom in the starting XI.
That first season set the foundation for the club to slowly grow from an average Championship outfit into a decent top flight team. But when they first parted ways in 2016, it left the fans gutted as they’d lost a top class manager who’s humble ways adhered himself to the Watford faithful.
Now it wasn't all sunshine and roses in Quique’s first stint as he finished the season terribly, winning one in the last five league games, however he did this with a far inferior squad at his disposal.
Three years later, Watford need someone who can put some structure and confidence in their defense to create a foundation for winning games of football. Enter Quique...
Quique Sanchez Flores' first spell as #WatfordFC manager...— The Sack Race (@thesackrace) September 8, 2019
Beat Klopp's Liverpool 3-0
Safe by Christmas
Won December's Manager of the Month
FA Cup semi-final ???? pic.twitter.com/o1kVNdYKeD
A pragmatic philosophy
When Flores first went into management and was learning his craft, he looked up to Rafa Benitez and was inspired by his management style and tactical nous when Valencia won La Liga in 2004. He adapted this style when we was head coach at the Mestalla which saw his first successful season as a manager, finishing 3rd and getting to the Intertoto Cup final.
In his most successful spell in management he took charge of an Atletico Madrid team who started the 2009/10 season winless in eight and without a clean sheet. They then went on to win 12 - including beating Pep’s famous Barcelona - kept nine clean sheets, finished 9th and won the Europa League.
A year after he left Watford his Espanyol team finished 8th after an impressive campaign which had 11 clean sheets, the fifth most in the league.
Watford haven't kept a clean sheet in 1,440 minutes of Premier League football. The pragmatic approach of the old fan favourite, mixed with much improved attacking options, will concoct into the perfect antidote to get the Hornets buzzing once more.