First Team 2 weeks ago

Sánchez Flores: “If We Believe, We Can Do This Together”

By Kevin Affleck

Head Coach Quique Sánchez Flores has vowed to remain on an even keel, believing his team had not cracked it by beating Norwich and that it isn't the end of the road either after the team lost at home to Burnley.

The Golden Boys were three points from safety before the weekend and that's still the case despite finishing empty handed from a game everyone had targeted something tangible from. There are 25 games left and 75 points to play for.

"When we won at Norwich, not everything was solved," said the Head Coach yesterday. "When we lost today, it doesn't decide anything either. After defeat not everything is lost. It is a race and it's about how we can improve. It's about belief, it's about fight and if we believe, we can do this together. You have to be ready to fight and we are still ready to fight. To keep believing is really important and that is what we will do."

Sánchez Flores remains optimistic and knows how quickly things can change in this beautiful game.

"Football is unbelievable," he said. "Norwich lost 2-0 with us and now today they win at Everton. I don't have any doubt about the squad. I believe 100 per cent in them. What I know since the first day is that it's difficult to change so quick."

The Head Coach was pleased with how his side performed for 50 minutes and they should at least have been a goal in front. Even Sean Dyche admitted afterwards it was a game of two halves and that the scoreline flattered his side.

"It's very difficult to explain the result," said Sánchez Flores. "I don't want to talk too much as it sounds like an excuse. We were happy and positive at the start, thinking about how we have control over the opponent, how we recuperated the ball quickly, how we played close to the box and how we had the best chances in the first half. We had control in the first half but we didn't score. The spirit of the players is alive and I can see this from the performance in the first half."

Burnley then got their noses in front through Chris Wood and that knocked the stuffing out of his fragile side.

"This changed things a lot," he said. "It affected our spirit, our energy and this was difficult. The other team had more power, more confidence and the energy was negative as we deserved a goal and deserved to be ahead. When you go behind it is completely different, a completely different mentality. You need to start from zero again."

First Team 2 weeks ago

QSF On Dawson: “You Can See How Professional This Player Is”

By Kevin Affleck

Quique Sánchez Flores praised the commitment to the cause of Craig Dawson, who battled against illness on the eve of the match to declare himself fit to play against Burnley.

The defender was ill overnight at the team hotel and was touch and go to play against Burnley, but he recognised the importance of the game and how significant a role he had to play in the absence of the suspended Christian Kabasele and the injured Sebastian Prödl. Dawson had made the second most blocks in the league before the latest round of games and topped the clearance list against Norwich.

"Dawson was leading the defensive line well, even though he was really dizzy this morning, really bad with his stomach," said Sánchez Flores. "We only had a 50 per cent chance of putting him in the line-up. We had doubts about putting him in the first XI until the last minute so you can see how professional this player is."

Dawson sunk to his knees at one point during the first half and the fear was he would have to be replaced. He bravely soldiered on, mixing it with the uncompromising Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood before eventually being forced off in first-half injury time following a clash with Wood.

The challenge left Dawson with blood streaming from a head wound and he had to be led from the field by physio Pete Webb and club doctor Matthew Ogunsanya.

Minus their in-form defender, the Hornets conceded three second-half goals from set-pieces.

"We lost an important player today, who was controlling how we defend," said Sánchez Flores. "But it's not about about how we lost Dawson. It's how the first goal affected us. It's the big difference."

The loss of Dawson was the sixth straight time the luckless Hornets have had to replace a player before half-time.

"It's incredible," said the Head Coach. "I don't want to talk as it sounds like an excuse, but it's not normal."

Sánchez Flores also lost Daryl Janmaat the day before the game after he reported to the team hotel with a knee problem.

"He was okay and this morning he had a problem with the knee," said Sanchez Flores. "It's swollen. We are fighting against elements."