Gracia: “Today We Suffered Together”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia agreed that the missed chance by Roberto Pereyra proved to the defining moment of the FA Cup final with Manchester City.
The Head Coach has been around long enough to know the Hornets wouldn’t have been guaranteed a first piece of major silverware had the Argentine tucked that one away as City would have had 80 minutes to get back into this one and we all saw how angry it made them when Brighton scored early on last week.
But the Hornets drawing first blood would have played perfectly into Gracia’s well-crafted game plan and given them something to hand their hat on. Even Pep Guardiola admitted “it would have been difficult for us” had that one gone in. As it was, City scored 16 minutes later, were two up by the break and then ruthlessly picked the Hornets off as they opened up in the second half.
“It was a very tough result,” said the Watford Head Coach. “It’s a difficult moment to recognise other things but my players deserve more recognition. Today we have lost, and City were better than us, but there was a moment in the game, different moments. We started well, we created the best chance with Roberto Pereyra after ten minutes. You need to score that chance if you want to have some chance to win the game. After that, it is very difficult for us. I am happy with the first part of the game but after, City showed their quality in the spaces. They have very good players and I congratulate them.”
Gracia made no apologies for departing from his usual 4-4-2 and playing a more conservative 4-5-1. He knew he risked being carved apart inside ten minutes if he had allowed City to outnumber them in midfield.
“We did really well in the first part,” he said. “We played against them twice [this season] and in both games we have competed well. It was really tough but we tried. It was a good experience and I know in this moment it is hard for us to look at the future. But we are not satisfied with the defeat and it will be good for us in the future.”
Gracia stood on the edge of the box at full-time and stood for several minutes just applauding the fans who were unwavering in their support. They were behind their team throughout and all largely stayed until the bitter end to applaud the fact the team never threw the towel in, their efforts in reaching the final and a record-breaking league season.
“I am very proud of my supporters,” he said. “It was difficult for them but they supported us until the end and I am very proud of this club. It is difficult for me to explain with words my feelings for them. I am very proud to be part of this club and very proud of them. It is difficult to accept this defeat, but we have enjoyed a lot this season and today we suffered together. Sometimes you have to live this experience, to lose these games to do it better in the future.”