Xisco Muñoz, in the space of just four months, turned Watford Football Club’s season around and last weekend secured direct promotion to the Premier League after watching his side beat Millwall. After having celebrated with a few beers last Saturday night, he now has his sights set on winning the Championship title to end the season in real style.
Xisco was appointed head coach last December and, apart from having to turn around the club’s promotion hopes, he also had to get used to Covid life in the UK.
“The first few weeks were a bit difficult getting adjusted and getting to know the club and the players, but I have to say that everyone involved at the club has been fantastic and is doing a great job. There’s been no room for mistakes, there’s such a small margin between success and failure but the group has been sensational.
“Apart from concentrating on our football, we also have to be extremely careful about keeping safe. Life is pretty much getting up and going to the training ground; we all have lunch together and discuss the morning’s session and then it’s back home. We’ve all stayed in our bubbles, we have two or three Covid tests per week, and I can’t praise the lads enough for having respected the Covid rules all of the time - it’s not easy.
“I have not been up to the centre of London yet. All I’ve seen of England is from the window of the team coach travelling from one stadium to another and the local supermarket. I can’t wait for the end of the season and to get up town to explore the city and perhaps some of England before heading back to Manacor to see my friends and family and celebrate promotion and hopefully winning the Championship title.
“It’s been a real shame not having had the supporters in the ground. The club has got a huge fan base and it’s sad that we have been unable to really celebrate with the fans, but I guess the time will come.
“For me, it’s a dream come true. It’s been a beautiful four months, and me and my team are really looking forward to the new season in the Premier League. But I have to admit that I am going to miss the Championship. I’ve fallen in love with the league and English football. It’s a great league full of excellent teams playing so many styles and with everyone fighting for promotion. It’s a tough league, the toughest I’ve been involved in either as a player or as a coach; it’s addictive. But moving up to the Premiership is going to be a big step for all of us.
“For me, it will help me to keep on learning and improving as a coach. Once I have been over to Mallorca, it will be back to Watford to start planning and preparing for life in the Premiership. The most important is that the best things are coming in the future. This is my mentality and the most important is to start preparing a very good plan for the next season. Everyone will come with big energy and big power because this year was an amazing year and an amazing challenge. Next year is double.
“We have an amazing challenge. We need everyone, not with 100% but 200%, to give their best in the Premier League. We need to do this. We need to prepare this mentality and this ambition, and we need to prepare everyone with this passion for playing in the best league in the world.”
So, Mallorca has another Manacor legend to be proud of.
“I don’t know what it is about Manacor. It only has a population of around 50,000 but seems to continue producing top sportsmen and women. Obviously, we’ve all got the legend Rafa Nadal to inspire us and look up to, but the list of world-class sportsmen and women the town has produced is incredible. I think it’s something Mallorca can be really proud of. I know I am and I can’t wait to get back over. But first things first.”
Xisco believes the perfect way to prepare for the Premier League is by finishing this season with the same intensity that his side has shown since February, when they turned things around following a run of three games where it looked like things may not have been heading in the right direction.
And the club wants to start a Hornets supporters club on the island, so if you are interested, please drop me an email (email@example.com) and I will liaise with the club.