Gracia: “We Tried Until The End But It Didn't Happen”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below for his thoughts from his press conference.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia lamented the concession of "avoidable" goals as the Hornets conceded vital ground in the race for seventh position.
The Golden Boys are on their longest ever run without a clean sheet in the Premier League – 10 games – and Gracia has now seen his team ship preventable goals against Arsenal, Huddersfield, Southampton and now Wolves in as many matches.
The first here arrived after Roberto Pereyra failed to win a 50-50 challenge on the edge of his area while the second came after Ben Foster mis-judged a deep cross from Rúben Neves.
"In most games goals come from a mistake but in the last games were are conceding avoidable goals," said the Head Coach. "We need to improve for the next games as this is the thing that will help us have more chances to get the result."
Foster felt it was a double mistake for the second goal scored by Diogo Jota.
"It was a very windy day – I was umming and ahhing to get the ball," said the keeper. "But we can't let players run in like that."
The goal from Jota proved a crushing blow to Watford's hopes of finishing seventh. They dropped from eighth to ninth and are now four points behind seventh-placed Wolves.
"I am disappointed with the result," said Gracia. "We wanted to get a better result. It wasn't possible. They started better, they scored and after we started to feel better, we scored. When they scored a second it was a difficult moment for us. We tried until the end but it didn't happen."
Gracia tried to do what he did against Southampton and switch to three at the back but this time, Wolves scored three minutes after he made the change.
"I was seeing how the players were, like Cathcart, like Will Hughes," said the Head Coach. "The other team are really dangerous on the counter-attack and we had to be strong in that situation and also offensive with our wing-backs. We wanted to be more compact, stronger defensively and stronger from set-pieces. We tried to score a second."
Cathcart caused a brief scare ahead of the cup final by limping off with what looked like a hamstring problem. "I am not sure what he has in this moment," said Gracia. "We wait until tomorrow but I think he has a little problem."
Ètienne Capoue has no problem whatsoever as he was absolutely majestic again, running the midfield show against some high-class opposition.
"Capoue is always important and today he showed his quality," said Gracia. "Not only Capoue but all my players. They worked really well in the second half. They showed they really wanted to change the game, pressing high, recovering balls in the opposite half and provoking the mistakes."
Like his team, Gracia will continue to go full throttle until the end of the season. He wants to make sure the race for seventh goes down to the wire and wants to establish some momentum ahead of the cup final.
"Before the game our target is to try to play in Europe next season," he said. "After the game, it's the same. We have two chances: to win the final and to get seventh. The place for Europe is now to win the final."