First Team 25/09/2019

Prödl: “We Can Fight With Confidence”

When Quique Sánchez Flores was last in charge of the Hornets, his first win came in September, at Vicarage Road, against Swansea City and with Sebastian Prödl in the heart of the defence.

The Hornets recorded a similar victory last night in the Carabao Cup and Prödl, who remembers well the confidence boost gained from that win in 2015, hopes this can provide a similar kick-start for this season.

“I think there are some good memories against this opponent and also good memories because back in the day this meant a very good start and a very good season,” Prödl told after his first start of the season.

“I remember it was the first win in the Premier League, at home as well and with one goal difference. It was 1-0 then and it was 2-1 today. This win came a bit later, but we should memorise how it feels to win, how we can manage to win, and we go from there.”

The team and fans alike will want to feel that winning feeling in the Premier League soon, and Prödl is keen to get points on the board as soon as possible.

“I think the next two games are pivotal, against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Sheffield United, before the international break. We need to get some points now in the Premier League to get out of trouble and to get into safe waters,” he said.

“I think the pressure is on, but we can fight it with confidence, we can fight it with quality, and we can fight it as a club. I think this is what we should focus on. There is not much time to recover now but I think we have a big squad, a quality squad and I do believe there is a way out.

“We have to admit that we haven’t had the best start to the season, and step by step now we have to get out of trouble. This competition is something where we can get some confidence. We changed a lot of players today but this just means that we add more players to the competition now for the Premier League.”

Prödl was one of the players who was brought in as a change to the regular line-up. It was his first start of the season and he hopes it will be the first of many.

“I had a lot of trouble last year with injuries and with personal problems and I’m back now, I’ve got my fitness back and it was important for myself today to show myself that I’m able to play 90 minutes at this level and I proved it,” he said.

“Now we will take it step by step, get back into competition and I will fight for my space in this squad. I think I can add a lot of experience to this squad and I haven’t played lately in the Premier League, but my absolute target is to get back in the starting 11 again in the Premier League. It was a good first step for myself to do that tonight.”

First Team 24/09/2019

Sánchez Flores: “We Had A Very Good Energy”

By Kevin Affleck

Quique Sánchez Flores was grateful for the unwavering support of the rain-soaked Vicarage Road crowd and was pleased to repay them, in some small way, for their loyalty following the heavy defeat at the weekend.

Nearly 9,000 fans braved some awful conditions to get behind the team in this Carabao Cup tie and they were rewarded, eventually, with a morale-boosting win, secured by a 79th-minute winner from Roberto Pereyra. It was just what the doctor ordered after the events at the Etihad Stadium.

"The most important thing is to win and to be positive in the dressing room," said the Head Coach. "We had a very good energy and we felt warm during the match. I say thank you from the players as they are very grateful they can play in this atmosphere."

Sánchez Flores said he had to use all his coaching experience over the past couple of days to get the City game out of the system. 

"I think it was a different experience for us," he said. "It was very new trying to recuperate this moment. We don't need reasons to be sad – we need reasons to react. You have to recover from this kind of accident and show everyone you can do much better, you can change things and get to another level.

"The opportunity we had today, two days after, was amazing. Sometimes you have to wait for two weeks. We could show we can do much better. This is now the past and we have another very important game in a few days."

Ahead of the game at Molineux, the Hornets showed they might at least be heading in the right direction in terms of shoring things up at the back. The Head Coach still feels he has plenty more work to do on the training ground to get the team where he wants them structurally. 

"We are really far from where we want," he said. "Players are playing well and trying to give their best. Sometimes we make mistakes but we need to be more compact, to talk more and reduce the space between the lines. We need a mini pre-season to prepare the team. We are trying to change things during the season and it's so tough.

"I don't think we have a problem with the forwards. Against Arsenal and Swansea we showed we can play well when playing in the last part of the match. We circulate the ball well, we open the match and we switch sides. The problem is we concede goals. I'm not used to it. We are conceding a lot. For us to prepare the block is very, very important."

The Head Coach felt Domingos Quina "played really well", but the big positive was a first goal for the club for Danny Welbeck. 

“I said two weeks ago we have a plan for him," said Sánchez Flores. "We are taking care with him and are very passionate about him coming back to the team. I just want the fans to see the good version of Danny, not the kind of Danny who goes to the pitch with some pain. I want Danny 100 per cent so we can enjoy this Danny.”