Why Quique Sanchez Flores & Watford May Live to Regret Their Rekindled Relationship

Ah, the temptation of an old flame. You were so happy before, how did it ever go wrong? It'll definitely work out the second time round, now you're older and wiser, right? 

Wrong. 

​We're only four matches into the Premier League campaign, and we already have our first managerial victim. Javi Gracia has been shown the door by Watford following a poor start to the 2019/20 season, in which the Hornets have claimed only one point from a possible 12. 

Gracia guided his side to an FA Cup final last season, but their early season slump means that the former Malaga boss is the first manager to lose his job in the top flight. 

Watford weren't messing around either. About half an hour had passed before Watford announced the new face in the managerial hot-seat. 

Well, not that new. 

Quique Sanchez Flores has stepped back into the lion's den, where no manager would normally dare to return. 

The former Hornets boss did an admirable job during his first spell at ​Watford, securing a mid-table finish and reaching an FA Cup semi-final, all in the club's first season back in the Premier League. 

But that's where the love story ended. His dismissal at the end of his debut season was met with anger and disbelief amongst plenty of pundits, who were shocked by the Pozzo family's decision  to move on from the Spaniard after less than 12 months in charge. 

Troy Deeney,Odion Ighalo

But there were signs that Sanchez Flores had his own shortcomings. His initial success was rooted in a blossoming strike partnership between Odion Ighalo and ​Troy Deeney, who tore the Premier League apart with their raw power and clinical finishing. It was down to the two forwards that Watford sat in seventh at the turn of the new year. 

But then the honeymoon ended, the love faded and everyone was gradually brought back down to earth. 

Sanchez Flores failed to get any real consistency during the second half of the season, and as his previously trustworthy strikers began to misfire, the Spanish boss showed serious tactical limitations when scrambling for a plan B. 

The Hornets' promising first half of the campaign was followed by a miserable second, and although a 13th place finish appeared very respectable to the outside world, a worrying slump had begun and Pozzo had seen enough. 

Sanchez Flores also had great difficulty in managing the dressing room, and there were inevitable grumblings about a lack of first-team football which contributed to the Spaniard's demise. 

Overall, it seemed that a split was best for both parties. The classy and impressive manager left with his reputation intact, and the Watford hierarchy made a quick decision that they foresaw as a definite probability in a few months time. 

In the roles that followed, the newly re-appointed Hornets boss has hardly proved his employers wrong since they brought down the axe. 

The 54-year-old had a solid first season at Espanyol following his Watford exit, but once again he was unable to motivate his players over a longer period of time, and he was sacked during his second season in Spain. 

Sanchez Flores then spent six months managing Shanghai Shenhua in China, which is hardly the move to make in the hope of proving yourself as a top level manager. Overall, his contribution to the managerial world has been underwhelming. 

Abdoulaye Doucoure,Gerard Deulofeu

Watford are a club on the cusp of something special. Their owner has assembled a talented group of exciting players, who need a manager to help prolong their success over an entire season, and not just the opening six months. 

Sanchez Flores has already proved that he's not capable of achieving that feat, and whilst he may be an adequate stop-gap until the end of the season, his presence in the dugout will only delay Watford's progress as a top-half Premier League side. 

Top players such as Gerard Deulofeu and Abdoulaye Doucouré will be desperate for success in the near future at Vicarage Road, and Sanchez Flores is the type of unambitious appointment that may force these stars to consider their immediate futures. 


The new Watford boss has shown no signs of adapting his managerial style since his first stint in the Premier League, and there are no suggestions that he's learnt his lesson three years on. It may prove to be a trip down memory lane that both manager and supporters live to regret. 

An ex is an ex for a reason, Quique.


Source : 90min

Source: 90min