In his first season in England, Spaniard Sanchez Flores has impressively organised an overhauled squad which he has inspired to the brink of another season of Premier League football and led to the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they will tomorrow meet Pardew’s Crystal Palace at Wembley.
A run of just three league victories in 2016, however, has proved disappointing, considering they were previously challenging for the top six, and speculation continues to grow that the Pozzo family, Watford’s owners, are ready to make another managerial change.
“He’s an outstanding manager and for what he has done as a foreign manager in his first season in the Premier League, it’s an outstanding job,” said Pardew of Sanchez Flores, who became Watford’s fifth manager in a year upon his appointment in June 2015.
“They should give him a pat on the back and a bumper new deal. And I’m sure they will.
“There’s an argument to certain boards (taking managers for granted) but if you look at the managerial records, it does show you who the best are.
“If you look at (Sanchez) Flores’ record, that stands out even before Watford.
“What I really admire about him, more so than other European coaches that come in, is he’s embraced the English game.
“He hasn’t tried to force that Watford team to do something they’re not used to.
“They play with a British (style). One of their forwards (Troy Deeney) is British, but they play a British way, they’re good at it, he’s stuck with it and not tried to alter it, and that’s been their strength. You have to take your hat off to him for that.”
For his part, Sanchez Flores is refusing to let speculation surrounding his future overshadow preparations.
The Spaniard insisted: “This is the time to talk about Watford, to talk about Watford fans and how important this is for this club.
“It is not the time to talk about me. I can just transmit to the Watford fans that I am completely focused and happy. Watford fans need to know that I am completely happy at Watford.
“My future is completely happy. because I have an amazing family, amazing kids, I am happy with my profession and I am completely happy with Watford fans.
“So my future is completely safe and is not important in this conversation. This conversation is about this match and Palace. The only thing I’m worried about is this match.”
Palace again have Yannick Bolasie, Scott Dann, Joel Ward and Joe Ledley available. Sanchez Flores is set to recall the likes of Allan Nyom, Ben Watson, Etienne Capoue, Odion Ighalo, and Troy Deeney after resting them for the 3-1 defeat to West Ham at Upton Park.