Gracia: “I Am So Pleased For Our Supporters”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below for his thoughts from his press conference.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia felt his Watford side produced “the complete game” to outflank Wolves and record a headline-grabbing victory at Molineux.
Even Manchester City have tripped up at this tricky venue this season, drawing 1-1 in August, but the Hornets produced a tactical masterclass to stun the home fans and record a victory that was more comfortable than anyone could have imagined pre-match.
The Golden Boys struck twice in the space of 17 first-half seconds – while the ball was in play – and could have added to their lead and limited the home side to just one shot on target. It was just what the doctor ordered after the defeat at home to Bournemouth.
“I am very pleased for my players and for the supporters because after the last game, we had two tough weeks preparing for this game, so today we have got a good reward.” said the Head Coach.
The Hornets started gingerly, as did Wolves, and then the game suddenly sprung into life when Étienne Capoue, who was again majestic in midfield, fired one in from distance. Roberto Pereyra then added a brilliantly-executed second with the outside of his left foot just 17 seconds later. From then on there was only going to be one winner.
“The first half we played better than the second,” said Gracia, who saw his side enjoy nearly two thirds of possession in the first period. “The first half we dominated possession, we had more passes, we created more chances and we scored two goals in short period. In the second we had to defend closer to our goalposts.”
Gracia again showed his tactical acumen by firstly starting with three players floating behind Isaac Success and then at the death when he switched to three at the back.
“We changed the shape because we needed to do it,” said the Head Coach. “Playing against Wolves you have to defend well against the wing backs, but we know where we can find the spaces to play and I think we felt comfortable in the first half. We created good lines of passes, we created chances and, for me, it was a complete game.
“We have done well against a Wolves team that everybody knows are playing very well this season. It is not easy against a very good team, but we didn't concede many chances and for me, today has been a very good game.”
As pleasing as the quality of the two goals was the clean sheet. Ben Foster barely had a save to make which was testament to the back four in front of him and the two midfield screeners.
“We needed all the players to defend well,” said Gracia. “Today we could not defend well if the midfielders were not close to the defensive line. If Roberto Pereyra doesn't help Masina then it does not work. Defensively it was good work because all the players did it really well. To get another clean sheet is important.”
It was also crucial that Watford won the midfield battle, and Abdoulaye Doucouré and Capoue certainly did a number on Rúben Neves and João Moutinho. Capoue had one of those afternoons when he made the game look easy.
“Abdoulaye is an amazing player and he always helps his teammates,” Gracia said. “He is always running a lot, playing a lot and making good passes. Today the midfield was very, important.
“It is a position where we have good players. We have Chalobah, who is injured, but he is playing with England at a high level. We have good players in that position, but, in this moment, Doucoure and Capoue are playing a very high level.”
Gerard Deulofeu made his first start of the season and he fizzed and sparkled alongside Success. Wolves could not cope with the quality of his movement and everything Watford did well in the first half went through him.
“I know Gerard is not in the best condition yet but today he has helped the team to play well and get a good result as well,” said Gracia.
The Head Coach concluded his press conference by revealing he is confident captain Troy Deeney would be “ready for the next game” after missing this one with a “hamstring strain.”