Xisco Munoz ready to be part of ‘amazing challenge’ for Watford

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George Sessions, PA
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Xisco Munoz is confident he will be Watford’s manager in the Premier League next season.

The Spaniard helped the Hornets seal an instant top flight return with a 1-0 victory over Millwall last weekend, which secured automatic promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

Xisco only took over at Vicarage Road in December and has not completed his UEFA Pro License, which is a mandatory qualification for all managers and head coaches who wish to work in the Premier League.

It is not expected to be a problem for the 40-year-old, who also insisted he was happy with his relationship with Watford owner Gino Pozzo.

“Yes sure, it’s fine, everything is OK. I think always is a good situation and it’s perfect. I want to say OK, I will stay here next year, sure,” Xisco said ahead of Saturday’s trip to Brentford.

“You know in December when I come here, was our plan and was our job (to reach the Premier League). I believe in December we can do it and right now it’s one step more. The most important and best thing is coming in the future.

“This is my mentality and the most important is to start to prepare a very good plan for next season. Everyone come with big energy, with big power because if this year was amazing, next year is double.

“We have an amazing challenge and everyone not 100 per cent, now 200 per cent to give best in the Premier. We need to prepare this mentality, this ambition and this passion for playing in the best league in the world.”

The Premier League have given special dispensation in the past to managers who do not have a UEFA Pro License.

Gareth Southgate and Paul Ince were allowed to manage Middlesbrough and Blackburn in 2006 and 2008 respectively under the proviso they had started the course.

Each incident is reviewed on a case by case basis, but Xisco has started his UEFA Pro License and is set to be allowed to manage Watford in the Premier League next season, the PA news agency understands.

When the Hornets last won promotion from the Championship under Slavisa Jokanovic in 2015, the Serbian was not given the chance to lead the club into the top tier, but the current head coach joked a new contract had already been offered.

“He give me a five-year contract, big salary and I am very happy about this,” Xisco said before he burst out into laughter.

“No, you know it is a moment to enjoy, to finish the season and after we will see what happens.”

The Watford boss celebrated Saturday’s promotion with two beers at home and allowed his players to enjoy their achievement, but warned the focus was now on trying to take advantage of any slip up by Norwich in the title race.

Xisco revealed he had spoken with old manager Rafael Benitez, who won the Championship with Newcastle in 2017, during the last two weeks after the pair won LaLiga together at Valencia.

But the former Dinamo Tbilisi head coach had yet to receive a personal congratulations message from Watford fan and former owner Elton John.

“No, Elton John not write to me but about the fans, it was amazing. I receive a lot of messages,” Xisco revealed.

“It’s very nice when you have this connection with the fans and it is perfect for me when you have the feeling with the fans. It’s amazing.

“Also I know Elton John not send me message individual, but sent a well done to the club and the club tell me this. It was an amazing moment for everyone and everyone enjoys these days.”

Watford supporters gathered outside Vicarage Road on Saturday to celebrate promotion and Xisco urged them to keep hold of that feeling.

He added: “I want this moment with our fans and when our fans are in the stadium, the first day of the Premier, I need a big party.”