Some say being a goalkeeper is the hardest job in football, but you may want to reconsider your view on that when you read that Quique Sanchez Flores is facing an uncertain future in the Watford managerial hot-seat.
The Spaniard arrived in the Premier League with little known about him or his style, yet he’s brought a wealth of managerial experience from all over the world. In the past 10 years he’s had spells managing Valencia, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Al-Ahli, Al-Ain, Getafe and now Watford. No tenure has lasted longer than two years, but when Watford started this season with a bang, many Hornets fans felt he might be the man to lead a longer-serving project in Hertfordshire.
He will lead his side out at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final against Crystal Palace this weekend, too – an impressive achievement for a side that many felt would be in a relegation battle. Yet this doesn’t seem enough, with many media outlets reporting that Watford’s owners are unhappy at the recent lack of form, with Sanchez Flores’ side picking up just three wins since Christmas.
A disappointing 3-1 defeat to Champions League-chasing West Ham did little to help his cause on Wednesday, but many supporters feel people should step off the bandwagon and commend the Spaniard for his good work, rather than critiquing every bad result that comes.
Watford are safe with 41 points and they sit comfortably in the league. The FA Cup semi-final is a bonus, but if you were to ask any Watford fan at the start of the season whether they’d be happy with a secure spot in the top tier and a Wembley trip to look forward to, they’d probably have all said yes. In fact they’d have certainly said yes!
“I’m happy and I feel good,” Sanchez Flores told the press after the defeat on Wednesday night.
It’s a shame Watford’s prickly owners don’t share his optimism – they’ve had a solid season despite a slump in form, they had an excellent start and were seventh after a 3-0 home drubbing of Liverpool back in December, they had never been in relegation form and when you factor in an FA Cup run, it really is difficult to know where the manager and his squad could have done more.
Watford is a club where managers come and go extremely quickly. They went through four during their promotion winning season last time out, and it shows that the owners will chop and change if they feel that is necessary. But is a change vital at this point in time? Yes, they’ve only won three times since Christmas, but you need to look at the bigger picture.
Watford were assumed to be a side that would flirt with relegation all season as they tried and improve their still Championship-esque squad. When a manager that has secured safety, provided a Wembley trip and has developed players is in line for the sack, it’s difficult to see what makes you safe in your job in modern-day football.