Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores finally shared his thoughts on the FA Cup Semi-final, ahead of Watford’s clash with Crystal Palace at Wembley this Sunday.
The Hornets’ Head Coach is expecting a battle against TheEagles but remains determined to keep spirits and hopes high as the weekend approaches. He said: “This kind of match is difficult because we have played twice this season and both teams know each other. When you have this kind of club as competition, it is difficult. The feeling in the competition is really nice but we are trying to stay calm. It is not a moment to feel fear.”
Should Watford beat Crystal Palace on Sunday, they will then face the winner of the Manchester United v Everton Semi-final. As always, Flores is staying focussed on the game at hand, telling Hollseey: “It is a big thing, so I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking on to the Final. We must focus on the Semi-final.”
It was made clear that as well as being a massive opportunity for Flores, who previously won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid in 2010, the main reason to celebrate is for the team, fans and Watford as a whole. He said: “We have an amazing opportunity to play at Wembley with so many thousand fans watching, and we need to show them. Finally we have one objective and we are very happy. We are here to show the fans that we are enjoying this. It is an amazing challenge so we have the responsibility to be ambitious and score the maximum we can. This is one of the biggest matches of the season. It is amazing for the history of Watford and an amazing opportunity to show Watford to every part of the world.”
The Watford boss shared childhood memories of watching the prestigious FA Cup on television. He said: “I remember the scenarios perfectly and can see the goals. I have never visited Wembley before but of course I have seen the stadium. I have seen a lot of amazing stadiums in my life, but this is a new one and I want to make the most of this situation.”
Team selection remains unknown to the public despite being decided already. Flores said: “The starting eleven has been chosen. The most important thing is to have a competitive team. All the players want to play in the first eleven and we can feel this kind of happiness in the squad.”
As for the future, Watford have not only avoided relegation in the Premier League, but made it to the final stages of the FA Cup. Flores shared his thoughts on where Watford currently stand as a club: “We are in an amazing place to grow. We are a team in the Premier League and have been working a lot on this. What I now want in this last month is to enjoy it with Watford, staff, teams and fans. Of course I will lead the team, but I will also enjoy it. No fears and no worries. Football is very hard and when you have the opportunity to enjoy, it is important to do this.”
Watford’s work is far from finished, with games left to play and a Premier League table to climb. The Golden Boys’ manager said: “We could finish in the top half of the league, but we do not want to mix the feelings. Right now we are thinking about the Cup and Wembley. We are rising to the match in the best conditions. The Premier League has stopped this weekend and it is time to think about the FA Cup.”
Having taken the Hornets to the semi-finals, Flores wished to stay out of the spotlight himself, preferring not to discuss his future at the club. He told reporters: “This is the time to speak about Watford. I am completely happy with the situation and Watford fans need to know that I am completely happy with the club but it is not the time to talk about me. This situation is amazing but I am at the back of the players. Everything is focussing on Watford for one game.”
The team’s success this season has come as no surprise to Quique, who explained: “We have not exceeded our expectations because we have always been very positive. We never thought about relegation, we kept confident and we didn’t feel fear.”
Earlier in the season, Flores had voiced concern over the length of the league and the road to the FA cup as well as the multitude of games, however he has now managed to bring Watford though both competitions successfully. He explained: “For us, the main thing has been the League, but for us there was no pressure and we were not in a hurry. We needed to calm down about the FA Cup. Now we are close and I am happy because it didn’t cause amazing stress on the players, and we have all done well. It is perfect.”
Can Watford make it to the finals of the FA Cup in their first season back in the Premier League? Stay tuned!