Quique Sánchez Flores was under no illusions after a narrow loss at Goodison Park and admitted his Hornets need to improve going forward, but the Heach Coach stressed there were more important factors to consider tonight than the result of this Carabao Cup tie.
The league table needs climbing and, with eight changes made to the starting line-up, Sánchez Flores said he wanted to use tonight’s fixture to evaluate which of the peripheral members of his squad are best placed to push for inclusion in the Premier League.
“For me, today was important to see [Domingos] Quina, to see [Sebastian] Prödl, to see [Dimitri] Foulquier, to see many players who are part of the squad. They are not playing too many minutes. For me, if we were able to win here then perfect, if we were not able to win, we need to set for the next match at the weekend,” said the Head Coach.
“We need all of them, in our situation we need all of them. They are involved, they are working hard and pushing during the week. We need to be fair with the players and put in the players we think deserve to play. If it’s enough to win against Everton, it’s okay, if it’s not enough, okay we go for the next match. Today, the players get some confidence for the future and they will need this for the future.”
Sánchez Flores has been working hard to tighten up his team’s defence and for the most part they kept Everton at bay, but two late goals made for a scoreline which was a touch harsh.
The Spaniard likes to keep things tight and sting teams on the counter-attack and, in a similar fashion to recent fixtures in the Premier League, the gameplan could have paid off if the Hornets were more incisive going forward.
“We knew this would be a tough match, we are playing away against 50,000 fans and a tough team with very good players too. I think we looked well for a long period during the match, with a very good shape and defending well, not creating spaces or many chances for the opponents. In the second half it was normal, they pushed more and tried to score,” said Sánchez Flores.
“I think our limitations come from our positions in the last third, because we have opportunities to finalise plays, not concede counter-attacks, even to try to finish our counter-attacks. I know we have quality in these positions but I can understand because it’s a long time ago since we won, a long time since we scored, so I understand how the players are playing under pressure.”
Resting regular starters such as Roberto Pereyra, who was subbed off, was equally important for the Head Coach, who knows how vital upcoming fixtures are, starting with Chelsea on Saturday.
“We have a match next Saturday, we have to change amazing players like Pereyra who are giving us a lot and creating situations not anyone can do,” he said. “But we needed to change [the line-up] because in four days we have an amazing final again and this is our priority. We need to win every single match we play.”