First Team 28/04/2019

Foster: “We Will Not Take Our Foot Off The Gas”

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

Ben Foster insists Watford will “not take their foot off the gas” despite their hopes for securing seventh place taking a blow against Wolves.

Wanderers, who occupied that spot upon their arrival to Vicarage Road, further strengthened their hold on their position after running out 2-1 winners courtesy of strikes from Raul Jimenez and Diego Jota either side of Andre Gray’s equaliser.

The Hornets are now four points behind Wolves in the Premier League table, with two games to play. The Golden Boys travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea next Sunday before ending their league campaign at home to West Ham.

But, with an FA Cup final date with Manchester City to come following that clash with the Hammers, goalkeeper Foster is adamant the focus remains on finishing the season as strongly as possible.

“It is obviously hugely disappointing to lose the game in the way that we did,” he said. “It was a big opportunity to steal a march on everyone and try and claim that seventh position.

“But we have a couple of games left [in the league]. They are difficult fixtures but we will give it all we have got.

“There is still lots to play for. Nobody will be taking their foot off the gas. We have a Cup final in three weeks’ time and whatever happens between now and then, it has still been a successful season.”

Reflecting on the game, Foster admitted that Jota’s winner “took the wind out of the lads”, after Watford had made a blistering start to the second half.

Trailing 1-0 after Jimenez’s first half strike, the Golden Boys took just four minutes of the second period to bring themselves level.

Ryan Bennett’s back pass fell to Gerard Deulofeu and when Rui Patricio got a hand to the ball, Gray was on hand to drill it home.

But, despite Watford controlling proceedings, Jota won it when converting Ruben Neves’ long pass after Foster misjudged the flight of the ball.

“Their second goal was a sucker punch,” conceded the 36-year-old. “The first period was a bit nip and tuck but the response from us in the second half was brilliant.

“We scored the equaliser early and there was only one team probing and looking likely to score. To then concede the way we did was a big sucker punch and really took the wind out the lads.

“There wasn’t much at all between the two teams. We lacked a little bit of quality in front of goal and our only shot on target was actually our equaliser.

“But we have two games left and we will give it everything we have.”

First Team 27/04/2019

Gracia: “We Tried Until The End But It Didn't Happen”

Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below for his thoughts from his press conference.

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia lamented the concession of "avoidable" goals as the Hornets conceded vital ground in the race for seventh position.

The Golden Boys are on their longest ever run without a clean sheet in the Premier League – 10 games – and Gracia has now seen his team ship preventable goals against Arsenal, Huddersfield, Southampton and now Wolves in as many matches.

The first here arrived after Roberto Pereyra failed to win a 50-50 challenge on the edge of his area while the second came after Ben Foster mis-judged a deep cross from Rúben Neves. 

"In most games goals come from a mistake but in the last games were are conceding avoidable goals," said the Head Coach. "We need to improve for the next games as this is the thing that will help us have more chances to get the result."

Foster felt it was a double mistake for the second goal scored by Diogo Jota.

"It was a very windy day – I was umming and ahhing to get the ball," said the keeper. "But we can't let players run in like that."

The goal from Jota proved a crushing blow to Watford's hopes of finishing seventh. They dropped from eighth to ninth and are now four points behind seventh-placed Wolves.

"I am disappointed with the result," said Gracia. "We wanted to get a better result. It wasn't possible. They started better, they scored and after we started to feel better, we scored. When they scored a second it was a difficult moment for us. We tried until the end but it didn't happen."

Gracia tried to do what he did against Southampton and switch to three at the back but this time, Wolves scored three minutes after he made the change.

"I was seeing how the players were, like Cathcart, like Will Hughes," said the Head Coach. "The other team are really dangerous on the counter-attack and we had to be strong in that situation and also offensive with our wing-backs. We wanted to be more compact, stronger defensively and stronger from set-pieces. We tried to score a second."

Cathcart caused a brief scare ahead of the cup final by limping off with what looked like a hamstring problem. "I am not sure what he has in this moment," said Gracia. "We wait until tomorrow but I think he has a little problem."

Ètienne Capoue has no problem whatsoever as he was absolutely majestic again, running the midfield show against some high-class opposition.

"Capoue is always important and today he showed his quality," said Gracia. "Not only Capoue but all my players. They worked really well in the second half. They showed they really wanted to change the game, pressing high, recovering balls in the opposite half and provoking the mistakes."

Like his team, Gracia will continue to go full throttle until the end of the season. He wants to make sure the race for seventh goes down to the wire and wants to establish some momentum ahead of the cup final.

"Before the game our target is to try to play in Europe next season," he said. "After the game, it's the same. We have two chances: to win the final and to get seventh. The place for Europe is now to win the final."