Finishing in the top six is Oscar Garcia’s target this season but Watford’s new head coach insists he wouldn’t have joined the club if failure to reach the play-offs would cost him his job.
The Spaniard was hired as the Hornets’ new boss on Tuesday, on a one-year contract, after Beppe Sannino resigned on Sunday.
The 41-year-old, whose full name is Oscar García Junyent, but doesn’t often use his surname, guided Brighton & Hove Albion into the Championship play-offs last season before resigning in the summer. It is believed to be because of disagreements with the owner.
The previous year he had guided Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv to their first league title in a decade after spending a couple of seasons coaching at his boyhood club Barcelona, where he achieved success as a player.
Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, are aiming for automatic promotion this season and have assembled one of the strongest squads in the division.
Oscar mentioned a top six finish being the target and was asked whether the owners had stated that was a must for the 2014/15 campaign.
“No, if he (Gino Pozzo) had told me this, I would not be here,” Oscar replied. “The word ‘must’ is strong. I think all the owners, or maybe 20 owners of Championship clubs, are thinking the same.
“As I’ve said before, we have strength in depth and competition for places. Not all the clubs have this squad but you know this is a tough league.
“Watford used to finish mid-table. Two seasons ago they finished third but the other seasons in the Championship they were in mid-table. Obviously I want to take this club as far as I can, that is my mentality. I will give everything to do this.”
We understand the main reason why Sannino decided to resign was because of disagreements with the club about the Italian’s management style and training methods.
Oscar resigned from his position at Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he returned in the summer, last Tuesday (26th) but claims he did not start speaking to Watford until after Sannino departed. We understand he had held talks with the club whilst Sannino was in the job.
The Hornets had been looking for a new head coach for several weeks and at the weekend had whittled it down to three candidates. We understand former Burnley and Bolton Wanderers boss Owen Coyle was one of the final trio.
Ex-Newcastle United and Norwich City boss Chris Hughton was close to landing the job a couple of weeks ago and former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo was considered.
Garcia flew to England on Tuesday and met senior staff that afternoon before being introduced to the squad for the first time on Wednesday. He then took the Golden Boys for their behind-closed-doors friendly with Hemel Hempstead yesterday (Thursday), hours before he addressed the media for the first time as Watford’s head coach.
Oscar said: “I like when I speak to an owner and it is clear to me, face to face, what they want. He has a philosophy and he wants to win all the games.
“If you have a way of doing things then if you win or lose, in two or three seasons you will achieve want you want and get what you expect. That can happen if you have a clear philosophy.” He continued: “The owner knows it is not good to make a change in management in the season but this kind of thing can happen. The last manager took the decision to leave and the club needs to move forward.
“The owner expects us to play good football and take advantage of the players we have. Like me, he wants to achieve a place in the top six.”