You Ask ‘Em: Xisco Muñoz Fans’ Q&A

By: Watford FC Staff

Head Coach Xisco Muñoz answers your questions in a Q&A first published in Watford FC matchday programme The Hornet!

What was the first thing that came to your mind when you heard that final whistle on the promotion match against Millwall? (Rafael António)

“I was thinking about two things. Firstly, about my family, my kids and everyone behind me, the people who are working every day at the training ground, because they always try to give their best. Secondly, I was thinking about our fans. When I was there, in that moment in the stadium, I lose a bit with there being no fans because if they were in the stadium, I think it would have been the most amazing moment. To get promoted two games before the season ends is an amazing situation and it would have been even more special to celebrate it with our fans.”

What is the secret to your success in taking Watford to the Premier League at your first attempt? (@swedishhornets)

“The most important thing is the relationship I have with the players. I am lucky because we have great professionals and very good people in the dressing room, and I think we all understand the team spirit. Everyone gives their best for the team and the last four months have been amazing. Everyone here has been in a very good mood and the most important thing is that everyone was committed to give their best for the team. When you are the Head Coach of a group who will give their 100 per cent, it is amazing.”

How have you made Vicarage Road such a fortress? (Phil Matthews)

“It is true that we have a very good record in our games at home, and I believe this has been our little gift to our supporters, who have not been with us to enjoy these moments. The flow in the stadium is just not the same without fans, which makes me sad, but we will be able to show our appreciation next time they are with us. When everyone is back in the stadium we will be in the Premier League and we will enjoy the moment together because the fans, the players and everyone has been working very hard. Next season we cannot wait to welcome them back, and we will need everyone to stay together all the time.”

Best game while you’ve been at Watford? (Lewisjordo)

“I don’t know the best game, but I do know the best moment and that was Cardiff away, when Adam Masina scored his free-kick in the final minute. I think we changed in this moment. After this, the whole team had one dream, one objective, and nobody was thinking about selfish things. Everyone moved forward and stepped out of their comfort zones, and I feel that from there everyone was ready for this situation. I still have the photo of us celebrating this goal as a team in my office as this was the moment when we could say we were a team, and we were together.”

What is your favourite goal from this season? (danny_wfc_fan)

“My favourite goal was Dan Gosling against Norwich. We were coming from the game against Luton, where we were disappointed about our performance, and the reaction in the first half against Norwich was excellent. We kept going with the same ambition in the second half and the goal from Dan was perfect, especially because he had a big chance to score in the first half too. We made one big step forward with that performance.”

What was better: promotion with Watford or winning the league and UEFA Cup with Valencia? (ewancox_7)

“It is totally different when you win something as a player, compared to how it is as a coach. I always say it is different when you are outside the pitch instead of inside it, but the thing that is most important is that you must always try everything to achieve all of your dreams and goals. Both moments were amazing but they were different experiences, and now I will prepare hard for the next moment.”

What did Troy say to you at the final whistle against Millwall that made you choke up? (Gary Marchant)

“I think we were just remembering all the different situations we have faced this season. I have a very good relationship with Troy and all the experienced players have helped me a lot, in all the training sessions as well as before, during and after the games. It was important the experienced players helped me this year, and when Troy hasn’t been on the pitch, he has come to the games and been very supportive, even in the bad moments. It is important to have big professionals and big players like this.”

What made you change the team formation after the Coventry game? (Steve Maguire)

“Sometimes you need to change because of different situations, like injuries. We started in 4-4-2 because we were improving our physical condition and this is a formation where you have more normal situations on the pitch. After this we changed to 4-3-3 and this is a formation the team feels more comfortable in. We had better condition, better power, better speed and higher intensity, and it was a big success.”

Who in the team sings ‘Sweet Caroline’ the best? (Kelly Parris)

“This is a difficult question. What I do know is that there are some who are very bad! The song is something we always put on before the warm-up of a game to say, ‘come on guys, switch on, you are ready’, because we need everyone to start with the same focus. We have had this situation in all my teams, where we have picked one song. If I’m not mistaken, I think it may have been Troy who chose this song. We also play it if we win, but I don’t know who sings it best!”

Rafael Benítez was your managerial inspiration, but who was your inspiration as a player? (Ben Smith)

“There are so many players I was inspired by, but the Brazilian Ronaldo was one of them. He was an amazing player and he was part of an amazing team at Real Madrid, with Zinedine Zidane, Roberto Carlos, Luís Figo and lots of really big players. I had the luck to play against them and this was amazing because they were my idols.”

What was the biggest lesson you learnt in your playing career that has helped you as a manager? (Tim Whitehouse)

“The most important thing is to have humility in all situations and to give honest decisions. It is normal that you will make mistakes, but I say to always work without selfishness and to be honest with those you are working with.”

Do you look at feedback or criticism from fans on social media about your team’s performance, and does it in any way affect any aspect of your team selections and tactics? (James Singleton)

“I tend to use my social media to get closer with our fans and I enjoy this interaction with the supporters of the club. If someone wants to say good things, then perfect, but if someone wants to speak bad about me, then I respect the opinions of everyone, but it doesn’t affect any of my decisions.”

What are the differences between coaching at Dinamo Tbilisi and Watford? (Stephen Pearl)

“For me, nothing is different. I always try to have the same character, the same ambition, the same respect for the players, and I try to make the best decisions. In my job, I try to have the mentality to give the best in all situations, so it doesn’t matter if it’s in the Premier League, the Championship or a different country. We could be playing against a big team or a small team, but I will always try to give my very best and do the best for the players.”

Who are you most looking forward to coaching against in the Premier League? (Kate Boyd)

“When you check the names in the Premier League it is like ‘wow’! Guardiola, Klopp, Ancelotti – we have some big, big coaches, so it’s amazing. It will be important to enjoy the situation and to fight, and I will learn a lot. In front of us we will have the best squads and the best teams. Man City and Chelsea have done so well in the Champions League this season, and in the Europa League you had Man United and Arsenal. All the clubs have such a high level, so we must enjoy it.”

Why do you feel it is so important to spend time watching and meeting with Watford’s academy players? (Andy Jackson)

“This is the future, this is the life, this is the passion of our club, and it is essential. A lot of the time we can have all the focus on the coaches and players of the first team, but behind us we have a big club and everyone is working very hard for Watford. It is something that I enjoy because I can come and watch a game and be relaxed, and I love it.”

What do you like to do to relax away from football? (@FinlandHornet)

“I have horses in Spain, and that is my main passion after football. I also enjoy playing pádel, which is a bit like tennis, but the most important way I relax is speaking with my kids and trying to stay at a slow pace. I like going on walks in the night in St Albans, where I live, because no one is there and it’s so peaceful. You can appreciate things totally differently when you go outside at night.”

What do you like most about living and working in the UK? (Paul Smith)

“With Covid, I have tried to stay in a bubble because I know what my responsibility is and I did not want to miss an important part of the season, so I have not had much opportunity to explore yet. I do feel like I have a special connection with the people here though and this is mostly because of social media, as we cannot have this physical connection at the moment. Other than that, it is work, work, work.”

When will you see your family again? (ocmalc)

“This is another reason why we didn’t want to be in the play-offs, because it would mean waiting longer to see my kids, so I am happy that we have finished in the top two. Right now they are very happy about their father and proud of our amazing achievement, but sometimes it is very difficult for them. When Covid is less of a problem and we can return to our normal lives, it will be easier because if I have two days free they can come and visit or I can go and see them.”

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