First Team 20/04/2019

Deulofeu: “Making The Fans Smile Is A Pleasure For Me”

Watch Deulofeu's post-match interview above, or read on below.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice but when Gerard Deulofeu’s on the pitch magic does.

The Spaniard opened the scoring at Huddersfield – his first of two at the John Smith’s Stadium – with a goal that bore more than a passing resemblance to the one that stunned Wolves at Wembley a fortnight ago.

Granted, it wasn’t quite as spectacular as the stunner that sparked a dramatic comeback in the FA Cup semi-final, but it was still executed from the tightest of angles and in any ordinary season would be up there in the mix for Goal of the Season.

Speaking to after the Hornets’ 2-1 win, Deulofeu said: “Today was not the same, the semi-final goal was more beautiful but today was really good also.

“I want to help the team and scoring goals is the best way. Now I have to keep going, and if I have to score all the goals like this then for me no problem!”

That’s 11 for the season now, and six in his last five Premier League away games, and Deulofeu credits his much improved goalscoring record to playing further up the pitch.

“The difference is I’m playing as a striker,” he said.

“This is my first season playing up front and it’s 11 goals but it could be more because in the first period of the season I missed a lot of chances, so it could be 15 or more.

“I’m happy playing nearer to the goal and that’s the reason why I’m scoring more goals.”

The magic man was once again serenaded by Watford’s jubilant travelling supporters and Deulofeu was thrilled to see a sea of happy faces in the away end at full-time.

“I’m so proud they sing my song, I’m so happy,” he said.

“My work is like this, scoring goals to help the team, and if I can make the fans smile it’s a pleasure for me.”

First Team 20/04/2019

Balague: “You Are Going To See The Best Of Deulofeu”

Guillem Balague believes we are going to see the very best of Gerard Deulofeu at Watford.

The Spanish broadcaster and pundit has followed the fleet-footed forward’s career since he was a teenager, and now sees a more mature Deulofeu who is determined to succeed.

The former Everton and AC Milan man came off the bench at Wembley against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final to score two goals and help Watford complete a remarkable, stunning comeback.

His first goal can only be described as exquisite. The second sent the Hornets into the Cup final. That quality has always been there, according to Balague, but perhaps it is only now that we are beginning to see the potential of Deulofeu’s talent becoming fully realised.

Deulofeu's best, believes Balague, is yet to come.

“I remember Fernando Hierro - the former Real Madrid legend, when he was the director of the Spanish Federation - said ‘there’s this 16-year-old guy who’s the best player I’ve ever seen, and he could be huge’.”

It was Gerard Deulofeu.

Deulofeu playing for Barcelona at the age of 17, against RCD Mallorca in 2001

“I’ve kept an eye on him since then,” said Balague.

“When I spoke to Deulofeu, he said; 

‘When I was in Barcelona B in my mind I was like ‘I’m going to be a superstar,’ but maybe that was a problem.

‘I played for Everton but my heart was in Barcelona. Barcelona is the past for me now. Now I am here, I am an ambitious player, and I want to help Watford - let’s see what happens.’

“It is only now I feel that his mind, his attentions, are in the same place. Now we will see what happens. Everything that comes now will be because of hard work.

“He is listening and he is in the here and now. He’s matured, he enjoys his role as a striker and he seems to be in a very good position. 

“I saw him smiling and relaxed, he looks like he’s enjoying life.”

Javi Gracia and Deulofeu spoke to Balague for The Premier League Show

It surely helps having someone as nurturing as Javi Gracia leading him along the path, being in Hertfordshire - close enough to London, but removed enough to shut away the noise when required - and to finally feel settled.

That comfort does not mean he is resting on his laurels, however. More that he has finally found somewhere to progress uninterrupted.

“He hasn’t been in a place like he is now,” continued Balague. “He hasn’t been in a place where he feels like he’s treated differently, where he’s a bit special. The coach has identified that maybe that’s the way to get the best out of him.

“He feels important, he is not a promising player anymore. He is a player who scores important goals, but there is still a lot of room for improvement and he is aware of that.

“It’s good that he knows the most important thing is the next training session, the next game, and with that you will maximise your potential. Some people reach that conclusion when they are 17, some find it when they are 24. He has that now. 

“I think you are going to see the best of Deulofeu very soon.”