Watford eyeing first final in 32 years

Hornets face Palace in FA Cup semi-final at Selhurst Park

Afp April 23, 2016

LONDON: Quique Sanchez Flores will ignore mounting speculation about his future as the under-fire Watford manager tries to save his job with a victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup semi-finals today.

Flores’ team are looking to reach their first FA Cup final in 32 years, but reports that Watford’s owners are unhappy with their poor recent form threaten to cast a shadow over the big day at Wembley.

Despite securing Premier League survival and enjoying a fine Cup run, Flores’ hold on his position suddenly appears tenuous after just three league wins in 2016.

Hornets owner Gino Pozzo is not averse to changing managers, with former Atletico Madrid boss Flores his fifth appointment in the space of 12 months when he was hired last year to replace Slavisa Jokanovic, who had led Watford to promotion from the Championship.

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But the 51-year-old Spaniard insists he has tuned out the rumours to focus on how to beat Palace.

“This is the time to talk about Watford, to talk about Watford fans and how important this match is for this club,” said Flores. “It is not the time to talk about me. I can just transmit to the Watford fans that I am completely focused and happy.”

Flores’ fall from grace is surprising after he was widely praised in the first half of the season for quickly establishing Watford as a competitive force in their first season back in the top flight.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.

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