While many Watford fans saw Javi Gracia’s sacking coming, what they couldn’t predict was how swiftly he would be replaced by none other than one of their former managers, Quique Sánchez Flores.
The Spaniard was in charge during one single season at Vicarage Road, back in 2015-16, when he was dumped in rather unceremonious fashion despite guiding them to a 13th placed finish and an FA Cup semi-final.
The swiftness of the appointment suggests this was something they were working on behind Gracia’s back for quite some time, and Sánchez Flores’ first challenges will be to try and get something from a tough fixture against Arsenal, before travelling to the Etihad to face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Cadena Cope in Spain managed to get the new Watford manager on the phone on Wednesday night for the Partizado de Cope show, and the 54-year-old talked the position of a manager as a whole, coming off the back of Marcelino’s sacking at Valencia, a club he himself managed between 2005-07.
He said: “Every time, as managers, it’s more and more difficult for us to be understood because it’s a delicate job.”
However, Sánchez Flores claimed he ‘appreciated’ the opportunity to return to Watford, explaining it was a club where he had lived through some ‘especially good moments’ during his first stint there, filled with very ‘grateful people’, regardless of how things ended last time.
As for the tough challenges ahead against two of the better teams, the manager said those fixtures were a ‘motivation’, even if he was preparing the fixture against Arsenal living out of ‘two suitcases’ in what has been a ‘complicated week’.
We’ll now have to see how that works out for him, and Watford fans will be hoping they can have a long-term manager for once, even if they know that’s probably wishful thinking.