Under-23's 13/04/2018

Academy: Contracts Confirmed

The Hornets are pleased to confirm that two further Under-23s have extended their professional contracts with Watford FC by an extra year.

Central defender Joy Mukena and winger Randell Williams will both now remain at Vicarage Road until June 2019.

The pair follow in the footsteps of defender Andrew Eleftheriou, who also signed a one-year contract extension last month prior to his loan move to Norwegian outfit Sandefjord Fotball.

Under-23 players Nathan Gartside, Dennon Lewis, Louis Rogers, Max Ryan, David Sesay, Connor Stevens and Carl Stewart will leave the club at the end of this season.

Meanwhile, Under-18 players Tom Leighton and Harry Forster have been offered one-year professional deals, with the club holding an additional one-year option on the pair’s contracts.

Second-year scholars Jubril Adedeji, Jesus Cruz Cabrera, Bradley Empson, Ben Jones and Jamie Lacy will all depart Vicarage Road at the conclusion of their scholarships this summer.

Watford FC places on record its thanks to all departing players and wishes them all the very best of luck for the future.

First Team 13/04/2018

Gracia: “We Play So They Feel Proud Of Us”

Watch Gracia’s pre-Huddersfield press conference above – free to view, no sign-up required.

Javi Gracia spoke about improving the Hornets’ defensive work and trusting in the positive aspects of their play as Watford prepare to travel to West Yorkshire this Saturday.

“The next game against Huddersfield is a very important match for us – and for them. I don’t feel they need the points more than us,” said the Head Coach. “Nevermind the situations they are in, I prefer to prepare the next game as I usually do, and do it always in the best way we can.

“I am confident we will be able to score and get points in the next game. The situation would be more difficult if we don’t create chances, but my feeling is that we create – even in away games – and we must try to score and do better each time. I prefer to think positively because we create chances to score.”

Roberto Pereyra has scored in the last two games

The Golden Boys have conceded from three set-plays in the last two games, cruelly denying them points that they probably deserved, but Gracia does not assign blame to any one player – defensive work, in his eyes, takes a collective effort.

He said: “It was a pity because in the last two games I think we could get more points. But, in three set-pieces, in three free-kicks, two of them after long-balls and second-balls, we conceded, and we need to improve those situations. 

“We prepared this before the last game, because against Bournemouth we conceded in injury time and lost two points in that moment. Then, we try to improve with video analysis, and training in different situations, because I think in these games we had control. We dominated during the games but it wasn’t enough. We have to improve these situations for the future.

“When you concede goals it is not only because of one player - you need to look at the defensive work, it is from 11 players. I think about how to improve that work, but if I have to change one player [in the starting line-up] because we are conceding goals, I have to change a lot of players.”

Javi Gracia issues instructions in training

The Spanish Head Coach is very aware of the feeling and atmosphere generated by the crowd and said that the Hornets’ faithful are always in his thoughts.

“For me, it is very important, the supporters’ opinion. We play and we work for them,” said Gracia. “We play so they feel proud of us, so they identify with the club and with us. We have to make a very big effort so they feel proud of us.”

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