Quique Sanchez Flores conceded his team selection for Watford’s 3-1 Premier League loss to West Ham was made with an eye on this weekend’s FA Cup semi-final.
Watford face Crystal Palace at Wembley on Sunday, with Flores making seven changes for Wednesday’s Upton Park reverse.
Just as against West Brom last weekend, Watford gave away two penalties, but there was to be no repeat of Heurelho Gomes’ double spot-kick heroics, with Mark Noble netting both after Andy Carroll had opened the scoring.
Sebastian Prodl pulled one back, Troy Deeney was denied from the spot by Adrian and Nordin Amrabat saw red as Flores’ much-change side succumbed to defeat.
“We have used a lot of players recently and the plan was to try to conserve and be fit for the weekend,” the Spaniard said in quotes reported by BBC Sport. “Practically all of the players will be fit for the weekend.
“The application was very good from us. We conceded really early and then it was very tough to play against a tough team like West Ham as they had confidence early.
“In the second half, we reacted really well, but not good enough to reduce three goals.”
Regarding the two penalty calls against his side, Flores added: “I don’t completely agree with the decisions of the referee always.”