Quique Sanches Flores: Another casualty of the brutal footballing business

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Sunday was a day when football fans (excluding Manchester United and Bournemouth supporters) bid farewell to the Premier League for another season.

It was also a day where clubs said their goodbyes to players and managers: Tim Howard, Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, John Terry (possibly), Manuel Pellegrini and, rather surprisingly, Quique Sanches Flores.

The decision to axe the Watford manager after just one season in charge, in which the Spaniard has steered his newly promoted side to a 13th place finish (the highest of the newly promoted teams), is, in Slaven Bilic’s words “nonsense”.


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While the parting of both club and manager appears to be amicable, with Flores declaring himself as feeling “happy” after the Hornets' 2-2 draw with Sunderland, many have questioned the Watford board’s decision to dispense of a manager who has built a team capable of securing their Premier League status in just 11 months.

The 51-year-old manager brought in 13 new players in the summer transfer window and had to quickly work out his best eleven from an increasingly inflated squad.

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Set up in a 4-4-2 formation, that has enjoyed a renaissance this season in England, Flores had Watford playing attractive, attacking football that was easy on the eye when games were going well.

Excellent wins against Stoke (away), West Ham, Liverpool and a draw away against Chelsea in 2015 boosted their survival hopes as the Hornets sat ninth in the league at the end of 2015.

The club’s superb FA Cup run to the semi-finals has certainly been the high point of the second-half of the season where wins have been harder to come by.

In the 19 games that have been played in the league post-Christmas, Watford have lost 11 games, drawn four and won four.

Watford v Aston Villa - Premier League

Compare this to their pre-Christmas run of eight wins, five draws and six losses and the concerns that have been raised about Watford’s form do have some substance, but they are surely not enough to sack a manager.

There may be a feeling that by appointing a new manager there might be a “Ranieri effect” in Hertfordshire, but this may be more wishful thinking than logical thinking.

It is a shame that a club who have successfully retained their Premier League status comfortably, playing well along the way, feel that it is necessary to part ways with a manager who deserves a lot of credit for the job that he has done.

Football is indeed a brutal business for managers and Flores is yet another casualty who could consider himself harshly treated.

Watford fans will be hoping that their club’s fortunes will follow those of West Ham, Southampton and, in the most extreme case, Leicester.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League

All three clubs sacked managers who had performed relatively well: Sam Allardyce was replaced by Slaven Bilic; Southampton replaced Nigel Adkins in January 2013 with Mauricio Pochettino who was followed by Ronald Koeman, and we are all aware of the Leicester City fairytale.

All three clubs were mid-to-lower table Premier League teams when they got rid of their managers and, this season, the three clubs have finished seventh, sixth and first respectively.

Whoever arrives at Vicarage Road has a tough act to follow. Flores, despite his faults, is a forward-thinking manager who has inspired his team to great heights in a highly competitive Premier League.

Let’s hope that Watford supporters are not punished due to their club’s constant state of flux off the pitch with both players and managers.

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Troy Deeney
Heurelho Gomes
Premier League
FA Cup
Ben Watson
Costel Pantilimon

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