Gracia: “We Didn’t Deserve That Result”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below for his thoughts from his post-match press conference.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia admitted he ended up with the same feeling this afternoon as he did away at the Emirates and Old Trafford, the one where he wondered how his bold side ended up with nothing after going toe-to-toe with one of the big boys.
The Hornets bossed large parts of the first half at Stamford Bridge and even Maurizio Sarri admitted his side were “in trouble”. Kepa Arrizabalaga pulled off what must rank as his best save of the season to keep out a header from Troy Deeney and it was a mystery how the Hornets were not in front at the break after popping the ball about with real confidence.
There was, though, a grim sense of inevitably about the way Chelsea came back in the second half and punished the Hornets for their wastefulness in the first half, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and David Luiz powering in headers in the space of three minutes and then Gonzalo Higuaín rubbing salt into the wounds with a third on 75 minutes. It was never a 3-0 game in a month of Sundays.
“I think the result was very, very tough for us,” said Gracia. “In my opinion, we didn’t deserve that result. We had some good moments in the first half, a good performance, creating chances, dominating the game, recovering the ball with a good attitude and playing in the opposition half. We didn’t take our chances, we didn't confirm [our superiority]. We have to be more clinical in that situation and be more aggressive in both boxes. It is difficult as I am happy with the performance but I am not happy losing 3-0.”
Gracia is not happy to concede any goal, but he was furious at the concession of the two goals from set-pieces.
“Sometimes I know you have to defend players taller than you, but we have been defending well in these situations,” he said. “We need to improve this part of the game. I am disappointed with that. We have to be more aggressive in both areas.”
The Head Coach did not need reminding that the Hornets have now lost the last 15 consecutive away games against the big six, going down by an aggregate margin of 45-9. It is something that will be near to the top of his to-do list in the summer.
“I prefer to be optimistic,” he said. “I prefer to see the fact that we had chances to get a good result. It is something next season we have to improve. It is not fair to only speak about results as, in my opinion, we have played well [against these teams]. If you analyse the game against United, against Arsenal and against Chelsea, we had real chances to get better results. For sure, I recognise we have to do something better.”
Gracia gave Nathaniel Chalobah his first league start since December and he scrubbed up well against his former club.
“He played really well,” said Gracia. “It wasn’t easy as it was a long time without playing and he had a very good performance.”