Watford: Where did it go wrong for Flores?

Watford's Spanish manager Quique Sanchez Flores reacts ahead of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Watford at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2016. / AFP / LINDSEY PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

For the first time in their history, Watford are safe in the top flight of English Football, having finished 13th, well clear of the drop zone. So why have the Hornet’s board sacked the manager that achieved this feat?

Flores was extremely popular with both fans and players, but suffered a poor second half of the season, despite making their way to the FA cup semi-final, leaving North London Titans Arsenal in their wake.

It leaves us here at FCapitalSport speculating what it is the governing board were expecting from the Spaniard, and indeed, what they will be hoping for under their new manager. The Premier League is one of the most difficult leagues in the world, particularly for a newly promoted team – can Watford really expect to pull off a Leicester type charge? It doesn’t appear to make much sense.

Sacking Flores off the back of the poor second half of the season in the league would make sense if the players appeared to stop playing for him, much like the case with Mourinho at Chelsea or David Moyes at United a few seasons back. This never seemed to be the case however. In the end of the season remarks Captain Troy Deeney voiced his concerns; He told Sky Sports:

“We’ve never really flirted with relegation and our gaffer’s been sacked. It’s one of those crazy ones.”

Crazy indeed.

watford - flores article.jpgWatford showed a great start to the season, but drifted out of form towards the end.

Sanchez Flores arrived at the club last summer ahead of the Premier League season and safely secured their position in the top flight. For much of the campaign the Hornets had top-six aspirations, having been in eighth after beating Crystal Palace 2-1 in February, just four points off sixth-placed Southampton.

But they stuttered in the second half of the season and were fourth from bottom of the Premier League form table come the end of the season. The Hornets managed just four wins in 18 matches and despite leading them to an FA Cup semi-final, the club’s board has decided to replace the manager this summer.

The sacking comes as an example of just how unfair life can be for a Premier League manager. A stunning fact is that Mark Hughes, Stoke City boss, is now the second longest serving Premier League Manager, behind Arsene Wenger, after just three years in charge. Sanchez Flores is the seventh manager to leave Watford since the Pozzo family completed their takeover of the club in June 2012. 

Walter Mazzarri.jpg

Watford’s new manager Walter Mazzarri.

Walter Mazzarri, a vastly experienced coach who has worked at Inter Milan, Napoli and Sampdoria in recent years, has been appointed as Flores’ successor.  He took English lessons last year after being proposed for managerial roles with Swansea, Liverpool and Sunderland and has been earmarked by Watford’s Italian owners as they look to improve on a disappointing finish to the season.

By James Doherty.

(, Sky Sports,

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