First Team 1 month ago

Team News: Chelsea

By Kevin Affleck

Quique Sánchez Flores is keen to focus on the players he does have, not dwell on the ones he doesn't, and draw on his rich coaching experience to plot another positive result against Chelsea.

The Head Coach reported that Isaac Success and possibly Étienne Capoue, who is “not 100 per cent”, could be in contention to face the Blues in the 5.30pm kick-off at Vicarage Road. Sánchez Flores drew both games against Chelsea in his first spell. The possible return of Success and Capoue will offset the absence of Troy Deeney, Ismaïla Sarr, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverley and Domingos Quina, the midfielder who will be out for a fortnight with a groin problem sustained at Goodison Park.

“We need to talk about the solutions as these players are not ready right now,” he said. “We need to be focused on the solutions [in attack], with Deulofeu, with Andre Gray, with Pereyra.”

Sánchez Flores is optimistic Cleverley will be back sooner rather than later after the effervescent midfielder limped off early against Bournemouth. 

“He has a little problem with his heel,” said the Head Coach. “Hopefully it will not be too long. He is positive he will come back soon.”

Deeney is making progress all the time following knee surgery and is working his socks off in the gym. 

“He is training really hard and really well,” said Sánchez Flores. “I love Deeney, you all know that, and we know how he can help the team, but right now he is not the solution. He has a lot of character and represents well the values of the club: be organised, be brave, be compact and solid. This is the character we want. He is representing the club very well with these values.”

The likelihood of João Pedro partnering Deeney in attack this season increased this week after the exciting Brazilian forward received a permit to work in this country. He will join up with his new teammates in January.

“I saw him play and he is strong, really quick and he scores goals,” said Sánchez Flores. “He looks really well. He plays in a different league and you need to see these players in different contexts against different defenders. January is so far away right now – the focus is on what happens in the next two days. We love the player but he is not the solution right now.”

First Team 1 month ago

Andrade: “João Pedro Is Born To Score Goals”

A prominent youth coach of Palmeiras believes the Hornets have unearthed a real gem in Joāo Pedro and that the club is developing a real footprint in Brazil.

Rogelio Andrade was in England with the Under-16 side of the Brazilian giants from Sāo Paulo earlier this month and they warmed up for a high-calibre international Premier League tournament in Loughborough by playing Watford's Under-16 side in the Dome at the club's training ground.

The next Brazilian teenager to set foot at the training ground in London Colney is scheduled to be Joāo Pedro – and Andrade believes fans should be really excited about his January arrival after the club secured a work permit.

"He is really fast, he is born to score goals, he has two good feet and is a very good player," said Andrade. "We played against Fluminense Under-17s in a semi-final last season in the Brazil Cup and Joāo Pedro scored the goal that knocked us out. He will do a lot of good things for Watford."

Joāo Pedro made a stunning start to life in the Fluminense first team, coming off the bench to bag an injury-time equaliser against Cruzeiro, grabbing another two against the same opposition two days later and then scoring a hat-trick on his first start. Andrade says his remarkable rise can be traced back even further than that.

"At the beginning of last year he wasn't even in the starting XI of the Under-17s," said the Palmeiras youth coach. "He used to play in a different position, I think he was a right-back or something. But someone went to play for the Under-20s and the coach played him as a forward and he scored lots of goals in the first three or four matches. He was the top-scorer for the Under-17s. And then because the first team like to use young players, because of a bad financial moment for the club, he got the opportunity and just grabbed it."

The Hornets' capture of the exciting 18-year-old forward has further heightened awareness of the Hornets in Brazil and added to the club's profile.

"Brazilian people all watch the Premier League and they agree it's the best league in the world," said Andrade. "Because of the Brazilians who have played for Watford they are very well known. We knew about Heurelho Gomes because he played for Elton John's team. There were lots of stories about this in Brazil. Richarlison brought a lot of attention to Watford, too."