Gracia: “A Good Wake-Up Call”
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia offered no excuses for the heavy defeat at home to Brighton and vowed to get to the root of what went wrong and put it right.
The Hornets suffered their first defeat in 13 opening day games and it was an afternoon when nothing really went right. The Head Coach was not about to slap polish on a bad performance.
"Many things [went wrong], not only one," said Gracia. "We need to improve and maybe this is a good wake-up call for the rest of the season. The best news is that it's the first game and we have a lot of time to improve. Today there were no excuses. They played better than us, they deserve the three points and they got the result they deserved."
Gracia batted away any suggestions that his players were under-cooked. He had them fully prepared, fully briefed and ready to go.
"All the players were training hard during the 40 days, 42 sessions and seven games," he said. "In the first game, I have no doubt about that [we were ready]. I think they always have the desire and the ambition to win and to do their best. We conceded the first goal, the second one the same and it was tough for us. We had some chances but we didn't deserve a better result.
"I think we can improve collectively. The first two goals came from two individual actions. We have to do better to improve these actions if we want to have options to improve our results. All of us are disappointed today but I prefer to wait, to trust we'll be able to do it better in the second game. I prefer to focus on that."
Brighton were excellent and executed the game-plan of their new coach Graham Potter to perfection. The last-ditch tackles of Lewis Dunk summed up their desire to leave Vicarage Road with all three points.
"They were playing well in pre-season," said Gracia. "We knew the shape they played today was three at the back. We knew it because the last game against Valencia they played the same way and they only changed one player. They played better than us and it was too late for us to improve. We we will be able to in the future."
Gracia was asked if it would be tempting to integrate new signings Ismaïla Sarr and Danny Welbeck quicker into his plans than he had anticipated after that shock result.
"I always like to speak about the players who have played in this game and not miss the players I don't have," he said.
"We didn't play well and we need to improve. The best way is to try and improve with what we have and I'll chose the best option we have in the next game. The solution for today is with the players I have ready for the next game."