With a place in the quarter-final of the FA Cup at stake today,
Manager Quique Sanchez Flores says the Hornets’ progress in the cup and their top-half position in the Premier League, are testament to the strides being taken at the club this season.
And the Spaniard is backing Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo to play a major part in Watford’s progress to the last eight of the famous cup competition, at the expense of Leeds United at Vicarage Road.
“The league is our main priority, of course, and we are really close, but now we are able to change the mentality when we are going to play in the FA Cup. Our focus today is on the FA Cup, we are playing at home with our fans, so we accept the responsibility to try and win this match.”
Of the oldest competition in England,, he added: “I can feel that the fans love this competition. Everybody around football can feel how important this competition is for English football.
“Everybody admires the FA Cup in other countries. My experience of watching the FA Cup in Spain is that it is an amazing experience and there is amazing attention from every part of the world.
“We respect this competition and, of course, we would like to repeat the experience this club had in 1984 when they played in the final against Everton.”
Leeds are no strangers to Flores, who saw them play in the Champions League in 2001, and the Spaniard has also been impressed by what he’s seen of Steve Evans’ men in recent weeks.
“When I was working in the media after I retired as a player, I saw Leeds play in the Champions League Semi-Final against Valencia and I remember perfectly how important this team was in this period. They were close to playing a final in the Champions League,” he said.
“Football is football, it is very difficult to know what will happen in the future. They had a bad run and now they aren’t in the Premier League, but we respect a lot the history of this team. I was analysing the Middlesbrough game and their other matches with our staff, and they have a good team.
“They play in the way that other Premier League teams play – with power, they try to play football, they have three players in the middle who play well – so we need to think well about this match.”
But Flores maintains that the partnership of Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo can lift the Hornest to another home win today.
“I was delighted for the couple of goals Deeney scored last weekend and hope he can exploit his chances against Leeds. Ighalo is what he is, a goal poacher and one hopes he can shoot us to victory”.