First Team 21/04/2019

Gracia: “We Have To Improve & Be More Demanding”

Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below.

By Kevin Affleck

The ever-demanding Javi Gracia said there is much work to be done in the race for seventh spot and that he will have to iron out the lapse in concentration that saw the Hornets concede a consolation at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The Golden Boys jumped from 10th to seventh on the back of the 2-1 win at Huddersfield and they could take an iron grip on the position if they win their game in hand on Tuesday night.

“I am happy,” said Gracia. “But, in this moment I’m not thinking if we are going to be able to keep that position or not. To be honest, I am focused on playing in three days and we have to recover these players and prepare as best as possible. It is the only way. 

“We are doing something really special in this moment, but it is not the time to think about the end or the final. This is the moment to be focused.”

Gracia is a glass half full kind of coach and there was much to be admired about the workmanlike win in Yorkshire, but he was not happy about the way his team switched off to allow Karlan Grant to ghost in between two defenders and head in a goal that denied the Hornets a first clean sheet since February. 

“I was very, very [angry],” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Huddersfield played a good game and showed their pride. I want to be respectful of them and the situation they are living, but we have to improve in that moment and be more demanding. It’s my job to remind them of what they have to do.

“The team will keep playing and trying to get good results. You can achieve this kind of thing when you are living all the season as a team.”

Jan Siewert, the Huddersfield coach, was mightily impressed with Gracia’s side. “They were very well organised and there is a big reason why they are in the FA Cup final and in a good position in the league,” he said.

The respect was mutual. Gracia knew the Terriers were not going to roll over on their own patch and he had warned his players just what a tough time they gave his side at Vicarage Road.

“We knew it would not be an easy game,” he said. “It is difficult to play in these circumstances and I think they showed pride and they tried to do their best. We had the possession, we had the control and after scoring the first goal, we tried to kill the game.

“We suffered knowing that with one set-piece and on one counter-attack they could score. We killed the game with the second and after we played, until the last 20 seconds, more comfortably. 

“It was a demanding game. The day was hot and the players were really tired at the end. We now try to be focused on the next game. We have to be ready.”

First Team 20/04/2019

Deulofeu: “Making The Fans Smile Is A Pleasure For Me”

Watch Deulofeu's post-match interview above, or read on below.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice but when Gerard Deulofeu’s on the pitch magic does.

The Spaniard opened the scoring at Huddersfield – his first of two at the John Smith’s Stadium – with a goal that bore more than a passing resemblance to the one that stunned Wolves at Wembley a fortnight ago.

Granted, it wasn’t quite as spectacular as the stunner that sparked a dramatic comeback in the FA Cup semi-final, but it was still executed from the tightest of angles and in any ordinary season would be up there in the mix for Goal of the Season.

Speaking to after the Hornets’ 2-1 win, Deulofeu said: “Today was not the same, the semi-final goal was more beautiful but today was really good also.

“I want to help the team and scoring goals is the best way. Now I have to keep going, and if I have to score all the goals like this then for me no problem!”

That’s 11 for the season now, and six in his last five Premier League away games, and Deulofeu credits his much improved goalscoring record to playing further up the pitch.

“The difference is I’m playing as a striker,” he said.

“This is my first season playing up front and it’s 11 goals but it could be more because in the first period of the season I missed a lot of chances, so it could be 15 or more.

“I’m happy playing nearer to the goal and that’s the reason why I’m scoring more goals.”

The magic man was once again serenaded by Watford’s jubilant travelling supporters and Deulofeu was thrilled to see a sea of happy faces in the away end at full-time.

“I’m so proud they sing my song, I’m so happy,” he said.

“My work is like this, scoring goals to help the team, and if I can make the fans smile it’s a pleasure for me.”