First Team 1 week ago

Sánchez Flores: “We Must Fight And Fight A Lot”

Quique Sánchez Flores said he would not waste time counting out how many points will be needed for Premier League survival this season.

The Head Coach would instead prefer to focus on what is in his own hands: improving the team’s results and preparing them for the fight which lies ahead.

“The situation is obviously not comfortable. It’s uncomfortable, it’s difficult and we can’t relax,” said Sánchez Flores. “We need to go one step more, one step up. We need to bring back the good feelings we had for the games against Tottenham and Norwich.

“We need to be focused with no distractions and concentrate on the work we are doing. It’s the only way we can do this if we want to change the situation. The only thing we can do is fight and fight a lot.”

Sánchez Flores knows results must turn around soon, but he is also aware there is plenty of the season still to play. After victory against Norwich he insisted all was not solved, and after defeat against Burnley he was equally keen not to lose hope.

“Be positive, there is time, there is time for the next match, time for the future because we have many matches to play,” he said. “It’s not the end of the season. If we are able to win, we need to start working again. The most difficult thing is not to win one, but it is to win and win again and again and again.”

Teams have stayed in the Premier League with as few as 34 points and others have gone down with as many as 42. Teams have been in similar positions to Watford at this stage in the season and turned things around.

But Sánchez Flores would not be drawn into comparing statistics about the likelihood of survival when asked if he was counting points.

“Someone told me that Burnley last year on December 26, had 12 points in 19 games, and in the end, they stayed up really well,” he said. “But I’m not doing this kind of count, it would be crazy to. If you lose your time doing maths it would be crazy. I have a lot of things to do with the team.”

The first of many battles ahead is at St Mary’s on Saturday against Southampton.

“It could be [a turning point], for us it’s a long time saying it’s finals and finals and finals,” said the Head Coach. “We are preparing finals but when you play finals I know what it means. When you prepare finals you need to reduce mistakes.

“We know they are dangerous, they have very quick players, good players in the midfield, strong defenders. But we have our players too, we have things we want to do. It should be even, like every single match in the Premier League.”

First Team 1 week ago

Team News: Southampton

Quique Sánchez Flores said he wants to focus on the players he does have available for Saturday’s trip to Southampton, insisting he will not risk the health of those who are injured.

The Head Coach will be without Craig Dawson (head), Christian Kabasele (hamstring) and Daryl Janmaat (knee) this weekend. They join Tom Cleverley (heel), Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Sebastian Prödl (knee) on the injury list. Daniel Bachmann (hamstring) and Domingos Quina (groin) have trained during the week.

“[Dawson] will not be available, he received a couple of cuts in the head and has had stitches,” said Sánchez Flores. “It would be a risk to play the player and we are not going to risk any player. We are not this desperate to risk a player, not now and not in the future. We need to respect the players.”

Captain Troy Deeney has continued to regain fitness during the week, while Roberto Pereyra’s inclusion in first-team training was a positive for the Hornets – although this weekend may come too soon for the Argentine according to Sánchez Flores.

“I’m not sure if he [Pereyra] is in a position to play in the first XI,” he said. “It’s been two weeks now [since his injury] and we need to feel like the players are at 100 per cent to play. So, if I don’t feel like he is 100 per cent to play in the first XI then he will not play in the first XI.”

Sánchez Flores will have to utilise the depth of his squad for a big fixture against the Saints, and he insisted the players waiting in the wings are ready for their opportunity.

“We need to think about the players we have,” said the Head Coach. “They are ready to play, they are ready to go on the pitch, they are wishing to go in the first XI. So, the players we can use are the players we need to think about.

“The players who are not able to train and who are recovering, the only thing we can do is try to support them, try to give them the best medicines, treatment and recovery, and think about how they can help the team in the future.”