BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Espanyol says it has fired manager Quique Sanchez Flores with the club slumping in the Spanish league and in danger of facing a relegation fight to end the season.
Espanyol announced the decision on Friday, adding sports director Jordi Lardin has also been let go.
Sanchez Flores, a former manager of Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Watford, among other clubs, coached the Barcelona-based club for the past two seasons.
Reserve team coach David Gallego will take over for the remaining five rounds of the season, starting with a visit to Girona on Sunday.
Espanyol hasn’t scored a goal in five matches, and has only two wins in the last 15 rounds. It is in 16th place, nine points from the drop.
Stoke City is looking for its newest manager, and according to one report, it’s looking at a name that will be familiar to some Premier League fans.
The BBC is reporting that Stoke City is interested in former Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores to take over for the departed Mark Hughes, who parted ways with the club on January 6 after a poor run of results. Flores led Watford to a 13th-place finish in the Premier League in 2016, it’s highest position in 29 years, but it wasn’t enough to save his job as Flores was pushed out by the Pozzo family at the end of the 2015-2016 season.
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Shortly after, he said he hoped to manage in the Premier League again. But this time, there is a hitch. Flores is currently the manager of La Liga side Espanyol and Stoke City or Flores himself would likely have to pay up to buy him out of his contract.
Stoke City is reportedly also considering Martin O’Neill, the currently out-of-contract Republic of Ireland boss, though there’s speculation that he could re-sign for another campaign on the Emerald Isle.
Flores doesn’t really have a track record of saving relegation-threatened clubs, having coached bigger clubs throughout most of his career, though he did keep Watford afloat during his season there.
Steve Parish is tired of hiring new managers, and this time wants to nab a lifer for the Crystal Palace managerial post.
“We do not really want someone who sees it as a stepping stone,” said the Palace chairman.
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Saying he’d like to find a man who appreciates Palace’s style of play and wants to grow the club, Parish expounded the virtues of his potential boss on Sirius XM’s FC show.
“We have got a personnel and a way of playing. It has served us well. Do we try and change that again? That will inform probably where we go on the list of managers. After that you are just looking for somebody who has got a long-term view for the club.”
In 112 years of play, the club has hired exactly one manager from outside Wales, Scotland, England, and Ireland, and the bettors’ favorite for the job is Burnley man Sean Dyche. Also on that list with decent odds are Garry Monk and Roy Hodgson.
At 69, that last name doesn’t fit the bill of a long-term solution (though it’s energy, not age, that would dictate that).
Some other ideas who could fit Palace’s bill, especially if they are open to heading away from the island in terms of nationality (and one Brit, too).
- Jaap Stam — The Reading boss has had an outstanding debut as First Team manager, and is well-connected in terms of the transfer market.
- Thomas Tuchel — Would the ex-BVB man be willing to dip down from the Champions League to challenge his predecessor Jurgen Klopp and old nemesis Pep Guardiola in the Premier League?
- Nigel Clough — Currently with Burton Albion, a club he also played for, would he relish a chance at the PL?
- Walter Mazzarri or Quique Flores — Both kept Watford in the Premier League, and both were victims of the notoriously short-sighted Hornets.
Quique Sanchez Flores will leave Watford at the end of the 2015-16 Premier League season.
Lasting just one year at Vicarage Road, Flores, 51, has worked wonders for the Hornets, keeping the newly-promoted team up in the PL for the first-time in their history and also reaching the FA Cup semifinal.
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However, with Watford safe from relegation they have slacked off in recent months. The Hornets have won just three of their last 14 games in the Premier League but if they win on the final day they can finish as high as 11th.
Here’s what Flores had to say to the media on Friday ass he revealed both he and the club had agreed to not activate the clause in his contract to extend his current deal.
“Yesterday we had a meeting with the club to make a resume of the season and after that I confirm that the club and me don’t have the same point of view about the season,” Flores said. “So, we don’t have the necessary conditions to activate the clause to renew the contract. The contract finishes at the end of June and then I will leave Watford. This is the consequence.”
Flores then went on thank both Watford’s players and the fans and spoke of his love for the club, yet the tinge of sadness in his eyes said it all.
The disagreement here between himself and the directors is clear. Quite why Watford’s board thought this season wasn’t a successful one is beyond me, yet they’ve obviously seen something which they don’t like and they have decided to act and make their feelings clear which paved the way for this decision . Flores’ stock has risen considerably despite this decision to move on and he should find a new job fairly easily with Leeds United, Valencia and many others already linked with him.
The favorite to replace Flores is former Napoli and Inter Milan manager Walter Mazzarri and the Pozzo fmaily who own Watford have a long history of being ruthless when it comes to sacking managers.
Watford have had six managers in the past three-and-half years and now they’ll be looking for their seventh.