Watford have undoubtedly had a turbulent season to date. With only seven games left to play, and still sitting with 37 points after four losses in a row, the pressure is on for manager Quique Sanchez Flores to bring a win this Saturday against Everton.
The Watford boss was making no excuses for Watford’s poor form this morning, telling Hollseey: “The responsibility is on the coach. At the moment the players are not responding the way I would like them to and this is because I am not able to motivate them. We want to recuperate more than the results. We want to recuperate their feelings.”
He added: “We have played against the best teams in the league. I don’t like to use this as an excuse, and we all know how tough the Premier League is, but we have the responsibility to be ambitious. 37 points could be enough, or not enough, but it is a necessity to win and play well. I don’t know what has happened in the last matches against Stoke and Arsenal because we play well in training but have lost the focus.”
Leaving Vicarage Road with three points this Saturday is becoming increasingly important for both Watford and Everton, as it will bring either team to the 40 point mark in the league. Despite something needing to change for Watford to steer clear of a relegation battle, Flores explained that now is not the time for Watford to change their training. He said: “I can’t relax, but I don’t want to change a lot because I know how football works. I don’t think this is the time to change the training because the players already know what to do. It is about how we move on the pitch. We need more energy on the pitch and I am working with the players to fix that. They need to know it is unfair for us to play like this when we are a passionate team. It is all in the heart. For everything in life, when you lose focus, you do worse.”
Many are pointing the blame at the team’s strikers, with Ighalo’s last league goal being in late January, despite bringing in 13 goals before the Christmas period. The Watford manager made it clear that more was expected of the entire squad, as opposed to certain players: “At this moment I am not going to put pressure on Ighalo and Deeney. We have many other players who also have a responsibility to help score, and they know that for me it is not enough. We need to go to the box of the opponent and put on high pressure. This responsibility is on all players.”
Flores addressed the fact that morale has changed as the team have become comfortable with their position in the league, but he is not willing to let it slip that easily. He told Hollseey : “It is not a surprise that players relax, but this is a problem. This is not about players, or staff as separate groups. For me, we are the same. We are a family. We fight together because we feel the same. We share the same feelings, same space and same experience. When we win, everyone is happy, and when we lose, everyone is sad.”
Whilst Watford have a lot to look forward to with the semi-finals of the FA Cup at Wembley quickly approaching, it has become increasingly clear that the focus may have gone from the league. Flores explained: “We do have a couple of distractions. The first is that we got 37 points a long time ago and had a feeling that everything was done in the league, which is not good because we need more points and need to compete. In the club we talk a lot about the FA Cup so this is our fault. We must change our mentality and do this as quickly as possible.”
With everything to play for, and a relegation battle to avoid, Flores finished by adding: “The next match is about Watford, what happens with us and how we react.”
Will the Hornets reach their long awaited 40 points this weekend? Only time will tell.