First Team 09/09/2019

Gomes: “He'll Find This A Better Club Than Before”

Quique Sánchez Flores will fit right back into a familiar set up at Watford, but returns to a more ambitious club with a stronger armoury than the one he left in 2016, according to Heurelho Gomes.

Sánchez Flores arrived at London Colney this morning (Monday September 9) and was quickly reuniting with old friends and making new ones at the training ground. One familiar face was Gomes, who made 39 appearances and won the Player of the Season award the last time the new Head Coach was in town.

“I believe it is going to be easy for him to adjust and to understand as well,” said Gomes, speaking to after training with Sánchez Flores again for the first time in over three years.

“He knows the club, he knows the training ground, he knows people that still work here behind the scenes, he knows the fans. Of course, this connection is good for us, we are a family club and this connection is very good for the fans; between players and them, between the manager and them.”

Sánchez Flores guided Watford to a comfortable mid-table Premier League finish and an FA Cup semi-final in his first season in charge, with the Hornets fresh from the Championship. Gomes was a key part of the team which gained promotion and held their own in the top-flight and thinks the resources at the Head Coach’s disposal now will allow him to push on quickly.

“I think the quality we have now is a much better quality than we had when he was here before,” said the goalkeeper. “The big change is the players we have here, and of course some facilities are better than when he was here the first time. But the most important thing is that he will find this a better club than it was before when he first came. The reception is always the same, the club never changes in this way, but the ambition of course is much higher than it was when he was here before.

“He was the one to lead us in our first season in the Premier League and we did something very special together. It’s great to have a manager like him back, especially in a situation like we are in at the moment. To have a manager who understands the club and the way the club wants to be, and a manager who understands the game as well.

“He’s not new to the competition, he knows how to do it, I believe in our hardest moments as well, because it was not easy to glue the team after we were promoted to maintain in the Premier League. It’s great to have him back, we did very good work together.”

Sánchez Flores held a team meeting with his new squad before taking them out for training with his coaching team this afternoon. He addressed old faces – such as Gomes and captain Troy Deeney – and new arrivals too. Gomes has already told players unfamiliar with Sánchez Flores that he expects the Head Coach to lead them to a great season.

“The players can understand that we have a manager who has arrived to get things right,” said Gomes. “We have a manager that is always trying to get the best out of the players. So, if they are in the right way, with the right mentality, it’s going to be easy for them to show themselves to him.”

The first training session was a case of ‘getting to know you’ according to Gomes, as Sánchez Flores explained how he wanted his new team to train and how he wants them to set up.

“Quique was normal, like he used to be,” said Gomes. “Intense, he likes compartments, he likes the team to be together. Especially at this moment I think we need the team to be together, both here [off the pitch] and on the pitch as well. This is very important for us.”

First Team 09/09/2019

Internationals: Cathcart Looks Ahead To Germany Clash

Adrian Mariappa and Bosun Lawal featured for their national teams over the weekend and there are more international fixtures to keep an eye on this week – including a big match for Craig Cathcart against Germany tonight (Monday September 9).

Northern Ireland sit top of their UEFA Euro Qualifier group with four wins from four, and Cathcart hopes for a result against Germany in Belfast to keep it that way.

“It's a great game to look forward to,” he told Added Time. “We are in a great position at the top of the group and if we get anything against the Germans, it gives us a great chance to qualify again.”

Cathcart is approaching 50 caps for Northern Ireland, with 45 to his name, and is looking forward to reaching the half-century mark for his country.

“That will be a nice milestone to hit,” he said. “We get a fruit vase or something, so I'll have to find a place for that in the house.”

Over the weekend, Mariappa played 90 minutes and kept a clean sheet for Jamaica in the early hours of Saturday (September 7), as the Reggae Boyz won their CONCACAF Nations League match against Antigua and Barbuda 6-0.

Elsewhere, Lawal came on as a substitute in the Republic of Ireland Under-17s' 2-0 win against Russia on Friday (September 6) – the first of two friendly matches between the sides in three days.

Ben Wilmot, who is on loan at Swansea City, did not feature for England Under-21s in the Young Lions’ 3-2 UEFA Under-21 Championship win against Turkey on the same night. Aidy Boothroyd’s side play again in a UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifier against Kosovo tonight.

Other fixtures taking place today include Lewis Gordon’s Scotland Under-19s match against Japan and the Republic of Ireland Under-17s' second match against Russia. Mariappa and Jamaica will face another CONCACAF Nations League match against Guyana at midnight.

Tomorrow (Tuesday September 10), Domingos Quina and Portugal Under-21s will face Belgium and Pontus Dahlberg's Sweden Under-21s will face Ireland in UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifiers.

Roberto Pereyra’s Argentina will face Mexico in a friendly match at 3am on Wednesday.