Quique Sanchez Flores dedicates cup win to the fans

The Watford manager was quick to acknowledge the influence of the away support as the Hornets progressed to the semi-finals.

Quique Sanchez Flores dedicates cup win to the fans
Flores watches on as Watford go about their business. Photo: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Quique Sanchez Flores must be floating on cloud nine at the moment. His Watford side are one win away from that fabled 40-point target in the Premier League, and, incredibly, the Hornets are into their first FA Cup semi-final since 2007, after Odion Ighalo and Adlene Guedioura put Arsenal to the sword on Sunday afternoon.

Watford lacked much of the possession - particularly in the first half - but were back to their clinical best in front of goal. Ighalo ended his scoring drought to get the Hornets on their way, and Guedioura's world-class strike eventually proved to be the final nail in the Gunners' coffin, despite a goal late on from Danny Welbeck, as Flores' side ran out 2-1 winners to book a trip to Wembley Stadium.


"I can't find the words to justify the support"

- Quique Sanchez Flores

Nevertheless, and with emotions running high, Flores was quick to praise not only the players, but the incredible travelling away fans. With more than 8,300 packed into the away end at the Emirates Stadium the Watford players were overwhelmed by the support, and Flores used the opportunity to offer his thanks: "I am dedicating this to the fans". The Spaniard said he couldn't "find the words to justify" what the fans had done for the Hornets this season, and that they "deserve something special".

With Wembley on the horizon that might just be the case, as Flores suggested that his side "played the match to the plans" they had made. Highlighting the need to "reduce the space of Arsenal", the Watford boss admitted that it was "very difficult" to make this happen for 90 minutes, but suggested the Hornets had done enough for the most part to limit Arsenal's chances. His side were more of a threat themselves in the second half, and Flores described the chances Watford did eventually get as "clear", and the Hornets were clinical in front of goal.

Watford players celebrate taking a 2-0 lead. Photo: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote
Watford players celebrate taking a 2-0 lead. Photo: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote

Giving something back

Commenting on Guedioura's match-winning rocket of a goal, Flores was quick to break out into a big grin, admitting that he "cannot give [Guedioura] his season back" - after the Algerian has not featured as much as he would have liked this campaign - but the Spaniard stressed he had "good feelings" about the players in training who had not played. Flores thought "why not?" and the gamble paid off, to complete a memorable day for Guedioura and the rest of his Watford team-mates.

Now, Wembley awaits and a real chance for Watford to win an improbable trophy - but first they must focus on the Premier League. On Saturday afternoon the Hornets face a tricky Stoke City side, comfortable in the knowledge that should they secure three points, the magical 40-point total will be obtained.