Flores admits Watford are flagging now

Date published: Friday 22nd January 2016 2:50

Quique Sanchez Flores believes Watford’s tough run of fixtures over the festive period has taken its toll on his squad.

The Hornets, who faced Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City in just eight days over Christmas and the New Year, have lost their last four matches in the Barclays Premier League.

And ahead of his side’s clash against Newcastle at Vicarage Road, Flores admits fatigue is playing a factor in their slump in form.

“We are a little bit tired,” said Flores, who gained his first experience of English football’s frenetic Christmas schedule after arriving from Getafe in the summer.

“December was very tough for us. Not because we had to play every three days, but because we had to play against amazing teams – Chelsea, Tottenham and City – and it was very difficult for us. We did not change the players so we kept the same first XI.

“When we don’t win sometimes the tiredness is in the brain and the head is a little bit more heavy, but it is not a problem as we have a lot of reasons to be positive.

“I tell the players, ‘Boys, no problem, we are in the same position as Everton, Liverpool and Southampton in the league and it is not a drama’. For Watford it is an amazing pleasure to share this position with these teams.”

Watford’s new £6million signing Nordin Amrabat could make his debut against the Magpies on Saturday after he arrived from Malaga on a three-and-a-half-year deal this week.

Despite being born in Holland, Amrabat opted to play for Morocco, qualifying through his parents, and has represented his country on 23 occasions.

“He wanted to come to Watford which is very nice because big players want to come to us,” said Flores of the 28-year-old forward who can play anywhere across the front or off the striker.

“He is an amazing boy and he has been working very hard over the past two days. He wants to play as quickly as possible, but it is necessary he understands how we want to play and move on the pitch.”

Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon arrived at Watford from Sunderland on Tuesday and both he and Amrabat are set to be in the squad for the visit of Newcastle.

The Hornets are bidding to beat Steve McClaren’s side for a third time this season after a 2-1 win at St James’ Park back in September and a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup earlier this month.

But since their last visit to Vicarage Road, Newcastle have drawn 3-3 against Manchester United and last weekend secured a much-needed win against West Ham.

“It makes it more difficult to win again,” Flores said. “We know how difficult it is to beat them and now their morale is high.

“But for us it is a very good challenge to beat Newcastle. We went there and won, we beat them in the FA Cup. It is a tough challenge to beat them again, but this is our target, to play well and to replicate those good feelings.”

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