First Team 03/02/2018

Deulofeu | “Play For The Win”

Gerard Deulofeu is bringing a Barcelona state of mind to Vicarage Road. 

Just a few days before his Watford debut against Stoke on Wednesday, the winger was training alongside Messi, Suarez, Iniesta et al. It showed. Deulofeu was razor-sharp, and his direct style and hard graft were vital as the Hornets earned a rot-stopping draw.

A good point, he says, and with home advantage the Golden Boys will be aiming for three on Monday night when a wounded Chelsea come to The Vic. 

“It's a great game, a great game for us,” he said to the assembled media on Friday afternoon.  

“We have to win, we play at home and we have to fight because Chelsea is a top team in Europe. The game will be difficult, but we will play for the win.

“On one part, they come here with a loss but also when a team loses one game, the next game they want to react and win. What we need to do is fight and be aggressive for 90 minutes. We play at home with our fans. We want to play good, take confidence and take three points.

“We have to play more compact against Chelsea, they are a good team and they play well. But we will have our options and chances to score. We need to be intelligent and compact as a team, but we have got to fight because if you don't fight you can't win.” 

Softly-spoken and humble, Deulofeu certainly talks well. 

There was intrigue in the room as to why the 23-year-old would choose to swap Catalonia for London Colney and he was happy to open up. 

“When I came [back] to Barcelona I knew,” he explained. 

“I knew Neymar, Messi and Suarez were in the team. After Neymar was gone, in comes Dembele and Coutinho. If you want to be in the top teams, you know you have competition in your place. 

“I was playing in Barcelona, I played a lot of games. For the last couple of months I don't play anything, and I don't have confidence. That is my solution - to come here for confidence and minutes, and to help Watford. I'm confident in Watford, and confident in myself.

“I want to be on the pitch every time. That's not, 'I come to Watford and I play every game'. No, first I work, and I help the team. If I don't play well, I don't play at Watford and I don't play for Barcelona. I'm a professional, I work every day and my objective is to play at Watford. Then, we'll see.”

You can watch the full press conference with Deulofeu above free, no sign-up required. 


Team News | Chelsea

Watch Javi Gracia's pre-Chelsea press conference above - free to view, no sign-up required.

A late decision will be made on the availability of Tom Cleverley ahead of Monday night’s televised fixture against Chelsea.

The midfielder limped off during Wednesday’s goalless draw at Stoke, his first game back since suffering a hamstring injury against Southampton in mid-January.

His fitness will now be assessed over the coming days as the Hornets continue to prepare for the visit of Antonio Conte’s side.

Speaking at his pre-Chelsea press conference today, Javi Gracia also confirmed that Heurelho Gomes, Craig Cathcart and Younès Kaboul are not yet ready to return.

He said: “They are not yet ready but I hope like the other players who are injured that they will be back soon. I think with the players we do have we can still do some good work.”

Watford's new winger Dodi Lukebakio could come into contention on Monday

Miguel Britos, Kiko Femenía and Will Hughes remain sidelined.

Gerard Deulofeu, Dodi Lukebakio and Didier Ndong all signed at the end of the January transfer window and Gracia admitted he was pleased with the additions.

“I’m happy with the players who are with me. We tried to improve the players we had and I hope the new players will help us to improve the level of the team,” he said.

“We have three new players in three positions that I think we needed to improve, and I’m confident they will give us good results.

“Ndong plays in a position where we needed to have more possibilities. Lukebakio can play on either side, and Gerard is also a player who can play on the right or the left with good qualities to attack.”