Wat­ford still look­ing for first win af­ter 11 at­tempts

The National - News - - SPORT | FOOTBALL - DO­MINIC HART

Wat­ford have al­ready fired one man­ager this sea­son. Could they re­ally be about to get rid of an­other? A man­ager who has al­ready parted com­pany with the club once be­fore?

Reach­ing the FA Cup fi­nal in May to be­ing fixed at the bot­tom of the Premier League, win­less in 11 league out­ings, is some fall for the Hert­ford­shire Hor­nets. But there are no in­di­ca­tions their predica­ment is about to im­prove.

The signs of un­ease were ap­par­ent at the end of last sea­son but were glossed over when they reached Wem­b­ley (only to lose 6-0 to Manch­ester City). They did well in the knock­out com­pe­ti­tion, but stopped win­ning in the league hav­ing been in a po­si­tion to chal­lenge for Europe with a month or so left.

Then man­ager was Javi Gra­cia, an ami­able Spa­niard who was pop­u­lar with the fans right un­til his de­par­ture. Much was made of the fact he was one of the few coaches at Wat­ford to fin­ish one sea­son and start in charge of the next, such is the re­volv­ing door pol­icy at the club.

Gra­cia was fired in Septem­ber, and Quique Sanchez Flores re­turned. Flores him­self had parted in 2016 de­spite keep­ing Wat­ford in the Premier League af­ter pro­mo­tion. And now he finds him­self un­der threat, with some fans turn­ing against him dur­ing the de­feat to Chelsea last week­end.

If there is a glim­mer of hope for Wat­ford, then it comes on Fri­day night when they visit the club sec­ond bot­tom of the Premier League, Nor­wich City. A win would lift Wat­ford off the base­ment.

The play­ers, as you would ex­pect, are say­ing the right things. De­fender Craig Daw­son said all their en­ergy is go­ing into pre­par­ing for the bat­tle.

“Every­one’s work­ing re­ally hard and we’re not far away from that win, so we need to keep on work­ing,” said the cen­tre-half. “The win will come and that will build con­fi­dence.

“We’ve had a few games where cer­tain de­ci­sions have not quite gone for us. That’s foot­ball. It’s im­por­tant we stay fo­cused and those de­ci­sions will turn for us and the win will come as well.

“It’s been dif­fi­cult, but we’ve got some pretty big char­ac­ters in the squad try­ing to keep us all to­gether.”

Daw­son is cer­tainly still back­ing the man­ager. “He’s come in with bags of en­ergy and bags of con­fi­dence. I think that’s slowly get­ting into the play­ers and I think train­ing has been very good. I think you can see with the per­for­mances that we’re not a mil­lion miles away.”

For Nor­wich the game is equally as im­por­tant, but ex­pec­ta­tions are dif­fer­ent for the newly pro­moted club. Their man­ager Daniel Farke can rest eas­ily in his job what­ever the re­sult. The same can’t be said for Flores.


Pres­sure has been mount­ing on Wat­ford man­ager Quique Sanchez Flores

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