Gracia: “It's Only The Beginning”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on for his thoughts from the post-match press conference.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia said he can sense the belief in this group of reinvigorated players after they made a real statement this afternoon with a comfortable victory over Burnley that few were expecting.
The Hornets had not won in 14 years at Turf Moor, not won away since November, and not scored on the road since January, but they set the record straight on multiple fronts with a thoroughly polished performance and three goals of high quality against the Clarets. It was the first time Gracia had tasted victory on the road as Watford Head Coach, and the manner of the display suggested this was not a flash in the plan.
“I was very pleased after the first game and today as well,” said Gracia. “I know it's not easy to get points here and I think we played a good game to have won and get the points. We have scored three goals, and the two early in the second half mean we could manage the game.”
The Hornets played with all the hallmarks of a well-coached team and one who had done their homework on the opposition. Every player worked their socks off against a Burnley side who were playing their sixth game in 25 days. The Hornets ran them into the ground, with the front two setting the tone by refusing to give the Burnley back four a moment's peace.
“It's good for our two forwards,” said Gracia. “They are doing a very good job, not only like today by scoring goals. They are creating difficulties for the centre backs and today we have been able to keep the line a little bit higher. A lot of the players did a very good job and I am very happy with them.”
Gray in particular is flourishing playing in a two-man attack. “He is a great player, a great person,” said Gracia. “Last season he didn't play so much but he was always helping the team. He deserved his goal today.”
James Tarkowski cancelled out Gray's third-minute opener and Burnley went into the break with the momentum. But the Hornets regrouped at half-time and came again, flooring the hosts with two goals in three devastating minutes.
“We didn't change anything at half-time,” said Gracia. “We thought we were doing very good things. We just needed to be more aggressive in the last metres. We have created more chances than them and we managed to score two good goals.”
It would be tempting to get carried away by a maximum haul of six points from two games and five goals of the highest order too, but Gracia has been around too long to get carried away.
“We'll see what we can do, but in this moment, I am focussed on the game against Palace and giving out best,” he said. “I am not able to look far ahead. We did a very good job in pre-season and we can enjoy the good result. It's only the beginning and things can change in one day. It's important to keep calm, to create the rules, to create a style of play, to be confident in your style of play. In this moment the players believe. I am happy we have got a good result.”