REUTERS – Officials are often made out to be the villains of the piece when it comes to any sport, but Watford’s Spanish manager Quique Sanchez Flores says he loves the high-quality refereeing in the Premier League.
Spanish football is too stop-start for the 50-year-old’s liking and he appreciates the way English referees let the game flow, the manager told the BBC ahead of his team’s visit to Bournemouth on Saturday.
“The style in Spain is different: stop game, stop game. In England it’s quick, quick. I’m very happy with the style,” said Sanchez Flores who managed Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Getafe before taking the Watford job in June.
“If it’s not a strong foul, carry on.”
Contentious refereeing decisions are as much of a recurring theme this season as they have ever been, with the most recent instance being Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s criticism of Mike Dean for not sending off Diego Costa during the Gunners’ 2-0 defeat at Chelsea last month.
The controversial striker was later banned for three games for violent conduct.
Although Watford are yet to feel the heat of a close call going against them so far, Liverpool have had more than their fair share in their favour in the early stages of the season.
The Premier League admitted that Liverpool’s narrow 1-0 win over Bournemouth Aug. 18 came via a goal that should have been ruled out for offside, while Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey called for the introduction of video technology after his goal against the Merseysiders during their 0-0 draw on Aug. 24 was ruled out for offside.
West Ham United’s Mark Noble had a three-match ban overturned after being sent off during the 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield on Aug. 29.
Meanwhile, Watford have announced that Scotland international Ikechi Anya has signed a new five-year contract.
The 27-year-old winger joined the club permanently in 2013 after a season-long loan from Granada.
“I’m very grateful to be here,” Anya told the club website (watfordfc.com).
“When we came to talking about contracts this was always my first port of call.
“I’m going to enjoy my time and try and do everything I can on the pitch to help the team,” he added.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)