First Team 21/09/2019

Sánchez Flores: “We Say Sorry To The Fans”

Quique Sánchez Flores apologised to the Hornets' travelling supporters after a heavy defeat at the hands of Manchester City at the Etihad.

“We say sorry to the fans, we are working for them,” said the Head Coach. “We work for the fans and we try to make performances for the fans. When we disappoint the fans, we disappoint ourselves.

“I would [like to] say sorry because they came to the stadium waiting for a good performance of the team. On the pitch after about 30 seconds we realised it would be tough, then after 10 minutes it was very difficult and after 15 minutes it was impossible to play.”

Sánchez Flores knows what the club means to the fans, having seen the highs and lows first-hand during his last spell in charge.

“We are a pack,” he said. “When we talk about the team, we talk about the pack. The strength of the pack is the strength of every person in the club and the fans are the most important part of the club.

“We are disappointed, and we are fighting to solve the situation, but in football when you think you can solve everything you have another surprise and you see something else. This happened today.”

The defeat is tough to take after the Hornets rallied to an inspiring comeback against Arsenal last weekend, and Sánchez Flores is keen to look forward rather than dwelling on a defeat against a very strong Manchester City side.

“We didn’t lose in one way, we conceded goals in many ways so it’s our work as a coach to prepare for the next match better, but try to not think much about what happened,” he said.

“We got very good things from the match against Arsenal, so now we need to recuperate and try to be good against the next opponent.”

First Team 21/09/2019

Match Report: Defeat At The Etihad

There is a reason Norwich City’s shock 3-2 victory against Manchester City last weekend made headlines around the world. It’s not often that this multi-million-pound team, assembled from the best of the best, slips up.

The self-proclaimed 'Fourmidables' are the reigning champions in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.

Pep Guardiola’s side would not have liked losing ground on leaders Liverpool when they dropped points at Carrow Road and whoever faced them next in the league would surely come up against a side with their tails up.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, this was the case, and Manchester City’s intent was clear from the off. The Golden Boys had a handful of chances going forward, largely through lone forward Gerard Deulofeu, and Quique Sánchez Flores made three attacking changes to chase the game, but the away side was simply no match for a team notorious for putting teams to the sword in this manner.

The first goal came in the first minute. Kevin De Bruyne quickly whipped a dangerous cross into the area and, with both centre-halves focused on beating Sergio Aguero to the ball, David Silva was able to put it past Ben Foster unmarked.

The Hornets could have levelled the scores within minutes. First a loose ball in Ederson’s penalty area was almost picked up the away side before the goalkeeper swept up the danger, then Deulofeu was sent through on goal by Abdoulaye Doucoure. He still had plenty to do, but beat Fernandinho and saw his chipped effort tipped just wide by the goalkeeper.

This seemed only to shift City into another gear, with De Bruyne taking advantage of a loose pass in midfield, surging up the field and playing in Riyad Mahrez. The winger tapped the ball past Foster to win a penalty and Aguero converted.

The home side looked dangerous with every attack and made it 3-0 when Mahrez was tripped by Doucourè on the edge of the area and saw his free-kick take a large and fortunate deflection off Tom Cleverley and past Foster.

Bernardo Silva extended the lead shortly after from another cross, before City made it 5-0 through a quickly-taken free-kick which caught the away side off guard. David Silva played in Aguero, who squared the ball to Nicolás Otamendi to finish.

Roberto Pereyra was brought on after 33 minutes to help the Hornets push up the field but after half-time it was quickly six. Bernado Silva scored again from close range after the Hornets failed to clear a ball into the box, and the midfielder grabbed his hat-trick just before the hour mark to make it 7-0.

Sánchez Flores brought on Ismaïla Sarr and then Andre Gray to help the Hornets search for a consolation and the Hornets did have a couple of sniffs at goal. But they were unable to convert, and De Bruyne rounded off an 8-0 win with a stunning strike just before full-time.

HORNETS: Foster, Femenía, Dawson, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucourè, Capoue; Hughes (Sarr 59), Cleverley, Foulquier (Pereyra 33); Deulofeu (Gray 77).

Subs: Gomes, Janmaat, Kabasele, Chalobah, Pereyra, Sarr, Gray.