First Team 23/12/2018

Deulofeu: “We Fought Really Well”

See Gerard Deulofeu's post-match interview above.


First Team 23/12/2018

Gracia: “We Try To Repeat”

By Kevin Affleck

However deep Javi Gracia goes into his new lengthy contract, however many wins he racks up, the Head Coach will never forget his first win in charge of the Golden Boys.

It came at the beginning of February when they thrashed Chelsea, the then champions, in some of the most joyous scenes at Vicarage Road since the club were promoted back to the Premier League. As a reminder, Troy Deeney fired the Hornets in front, Eden Hazard equalised only for the home side to plunder three goals in a riotous last six minutes.

“It was my first home game and my first victory as well,” said Gracia. “We try to repeat. It was a good game, last season. It was special. But it's the past, it's another game.”

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Antonio Conte is no longer in charge of Chelsea for a start. Maurizio Sarri is the man at the helm and Gracia will have his players ready for a Chelsea backlash after they were beaten by Leicester on Saturday.

“I don't know what will change for them after they lost, but what I know is that playing against Chelsea we have to do our best and try to compete to our best level,” said the Head Coach. “If you don't do it, you don't have any chance. We know it will be demanding because Chelsea are one of the best teams in the league but, playing at home with the backing of our supporters, we can do it.”

Gracia was unsure whether he'll use this game to show the depth of his squad or wait for the one against Newcastle as, playing with the intensity the Hornets do, three games in seven days is a lot to ask of his players.

“We'll see,” he said. “At this moment I think all the players have finished the [West Ham] game well. We have to recover well and to prepare in a short time for the next game. With a win it is always better.”

Watford have scrubbed up well at home against the big boys. They beat Tottenham, came within a David De Gea save of getting a point against Manchester United, held Liverpool for two thirds of the match and gave Manchester City a right run for their money late on. Chelsea know they will be in for a right old ding-dong at The Vic.

“They have very good mechanisms to attack, different options and good players, but to get a clean sheet against West Ham is something good for us,” Gracia said. “It shows us working together with solidarity. We showed we can defend well against City at home. We lost 2-1 but, at the end, we had chances to get some points. We know it's difficult, but, in this moment, I think we are able to compete and get options to win. We are in a good moment and we can compete with all of them.”