LONDON • Quique Sanchez Flores is considering an offer to return to Valencia and feels frustrated that some of his Watford players took their foot off the gas after reaching a position of safety in the English Premier League.
The Spaniard, who coached the Spanish club from 2005 to 2007, is widely expected to be sacked, but has told friends that it is his decision to leave, with the chance to replace Pako Ayestaran next season.
Watford reached 37 points in the Premier league in February, a tally that Flores reportedly believes was a cue for some of his players to lose concentration.
His side have since won once in eight league games and are 12th in the table with four matches remaining. They are still not safe yet.
According to reports, owner Gino Pozzo is set to use a break clause in the manager's two-year deal over the summer to bring to an end his time at Vicarage Road.
But Watford said in a statement on Wednesday: "As the club has consistently made clear, no decision has been made on the future of Quique Flores and no decision will be taken until the club has held in-depth discussions with Quique."
Flores himself has refused to discuss his future.
The 51-year-old said yesterday: "My time will not be spent thinking about the future because I knew some time ago what was in my contract. It's a break clause.
"I don't want to talk about that, it is not the moment. I want to enjoy the last four matches in the Premier League for Watford."
But he admitted that he does not know how his players will react to speculation suggesting that he will leave when they host Aston Villa tomorrow, looking for a second win in the last three league matches.
He said: "When these rumours affect the coach, normally, the players can react in two ways.
"The coach needs to be strong and protect them from everything. If someone detects a weakness from the coach, it isn't good for the team or the performances.
"But I have a positive squad. I can only say amazing words for the squad and staff. They have worked really hard during the season.
"We know we have limitations but they always work hard. Sometimes we have lost the morale, but that is normal when you build a team."
THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN