Quique Sanchez Flores: Watford set to sack manager after less than three months in charge

Quique Sanchez Flores

Sanchez Flores has won just one of his 10 league games since returning to Vicarage Road in September

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores is set to be sacked after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Southampton, with the club’s hierarchy meeting to decide his future.

Sanchez Flores, in charge for the 2015-16 campaign, was only reappointed on 7 September, replacing Javi Gracia.

But he has failed to achieve an upturn in results with the club winning just one of his 10 league games in charge.

They are bottom of the Premier League on eight points after 14 games and are six points from safety.

It is their worst return at this stage of a Premier League campaign and they have registered just one win in their past 18 league games, drawing six and losing 11.

After Saturday’s defeat at St Mary’s, Sanchez Flores said: “I suffer for the fans, I suffer for the players and I suffer for the owner.

“It’s a difficult time for our fans after we had the feeling we were in the right way.”

During Sanchez Flores’ latest spell in charge, they only beat Norwich, while losing to Wolves, Chelsea, Burnley and Manchester City, where they were hammered 8-0. They were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Everton in the fourth round.

Since Gianfranco Zola’s exit in December 2013, Watford have had nine managers, including Sanchez Flores twice.

Fellow Spaniard Gracia had been in charge for 21 months – making him the first Hornets boss to last more than one full season since Zola.

If dismissed, Sanchez Flores will become the the third Premier League boss to be sacked in the past two weeks, following Unai Emery at Arsenal on Friday and Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham on 19 November.

Watford are in their fifth season back in the Premier League since promotion in May 2015.

Gracia had led the club to the FA Cup final last season where they lost 6-0 to Manchester City, as well as 11th place in the Premier League.

They also reached the FA Cup semi-final in 2016 during Sanchez Flores’ first spell as manager.

Analysis – ‘Watford can’t get next appointment wrong’

Watford gambled by bringing back Sanchez Flores as manager in September – but look set to react with typical speed after realising the decision has failed.

For all the perceived managerial instability, Watford has a stable set-up behind the scenes overseen by the Pozzo family and chief executive Scott Duxbury. They realise that Premier League status is everything to a club that has worked so hard to achieve it.

This is why Gracia was sacked after losing three of his first four games this season and why Sanchez Flores is likely to follow him after less than 90 days.

Watford are rarely caught without a plan when it comes to managerial succession. Flores’ appointment was announced 30 minutes after the departure of Gracia.

If Sanchez Flores goes, this will be arguably the most important decision the club’s hierarchy will make.

Watford face appointing their third manager this season before the turn of the year and they know, with the Hornets bottom of the table with only eight points from 14 games, that if they get it wrong they may well be sealing their return to the Championship.