Flores applauds a job well done before heading for the exit
Quique Sánchez Flores feels his job at Watford is “complete” after guiding them to Premier League safety. The club have finished 13th despite a difficult second half of the season that ultimately cost Flores his job.
After his final game, the Spaniard had no hard feelings, instead reflecting on a sense of accomplishment at keeping the club up. “I feel my job is absolutely complete,” Flores said. “We hit the target we had to keep the team in this category, and the way we did it was amazing. We didn’t suffer. We enjoyed the experience with a feeling that we were doing everything in the right way – for me, 45 points is a lot of points for a team who has just been promoted.”
After a great start to the season that saw Watford reach eighth, a run of only four wins in 19 matches took them down the table.
Flores remained gracious on his departure. He did, however, say that the next manager would need to make additions to the squad. “It’s been a good first year but a difficult one, but players will want to go to a team that is consistent,” he said.
Goals from Sebastian Prodl and Troy Deeney ensured a draw after Jack Rodwell and Jeremain Lens had twice put Sunderland ahead. Watford dominated large parts of the game against a Sunderland side containing Premier League debutants in Tom Robson and Rees Greenwood.
Home winger Almen Abdi was a dangerous protagonist on the righthand side and had the first chance of the game when his powerful right-foot drive whistled just wide of Jordan Pickford’s post. The Italian went close again minutes later, but again failed to hit the target when his left-foot curler sailed over from the edge of the box.
José Manuel Jurado and Nathan Aké also had shots at the Sunderland goal, but their long-range strikes were well saved by Pickford.
Sunderland were merely passengers in the first half an hour, but took the lead against the run of play. After Lens’s effort was saved well by Heurelho Gomes from a counter-attack, the Dutchman showed good composure to slide the ball across the Watford goal to an unmarked Rodwell, who poked the ball home at the far post.
Surprisingly, Watford were behind at the break, but equalised two minutes after the interval through a powerful Prodl header. The home side fell behind again soon after, however, falling foul of another Sunderland breakaway. Duncan Watmore’s powerful run ended in a precise pass to Lens, and the midfielder finished well under the body of Gomes after cutting on to his left foot.
Undeterred, Watford kept pressing and were rewarded when Deeney scored from the penalty spot after Jurado was adjudged to have been fouled by John O’Shea.
Final act: Quique Sánchez Flores waves to the Watford supporters