Gracia: “With 10 Players We Dominated The Game”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia managed to shake off the disappointment of the sending off and a first home defeat since Boxing Day to find real positives in the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.
The Hornets had a real crack at the Gunners despite playing nearly 80 minutes with ten men following the straight red card shown to Troy Deeney. They mustered 11 shots on goal from a third of the possession and forced more corners than the Gunners. They hit the bar through Adam Masina, the post via a shot from Craig Cathcart and also forced the save of the match from Bernd Leno, who had to dive full length to his left to keep out a goal-bound free-kick from Étienne Capoue.
“We have competed really well with ten players, that’s my opinion,” said Gracia. “My players don’t deserve for me to only speak about the result. Arsenal got the points but we had a good performance, playing with 10 players, dominating the game and trying to get a good result until the end. For me, it’s good news.
“We did many things well. It’s true from the beginning the game was difficult as we conceded an early goal. After the sending off, it was very demanding for us, but I think we tried. We showed our sprit, our character, creating chances when we were able to, one on the crossbar, one on the post and other chances as well. It was tough for us, but my players deserve recognition as they made a very big effort and I am very proud of them.”
Gracia apportioned no blame to Ben Foster, Watford’s goalkeeper who had barely put a foot wrong all season until he dallied and allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to charge down a clearance and deflect it into the back of the net.
“All my players make mistakes,” said Gracia. “Me as well. It’s something natural. We have to live with our mistakes. All the players make mistakes, all the coaches make mistakes. I prefer to give value to all the good things. When we win and one player scores, all the players and team are happy. We are a team and we enjoy together and suffer together. It’s about the team and we are not pointing at one player. This is the moment to be together. With ten players, in the circumstances we had, we competed really well.”
The team thew everything at Arsenal without Deeney and without the injured Gerard Deulofeu, Roberto Pereyra, José Holebas, Domingos Quina, Tom Cleverley and Adalberto Peñaranda.
“Gerard and Roberto last week had some moments when we thought they would be ready,” said Gracia. “But two training sessions before the game, Gerard had some problems and Roberto didn’t feel confident to play. It was better to wait. Gerard, Roberto, Domingos Quina, Peñaranda, Tom Cleverley and Holebas are all out of the team with different problems.”