Gracia: “To Win Like We Did Was Outstanding”
Watch Javi Gracia's post-match interview above, or read on below.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia is always reluctant to single out one player when previewing or analysing a game, but he could do little else other than sing the praises of Gerard Deulofeu after he scored three and made another in the rout of Cardiff.
The Spanish forward became the first player since Mark Falco in 1986 to score a top-flight for the club after he followed up a first-half effort with two in two second-half minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium. He then followed it up with an assist for Troy Deeney for the fourth.
“It was important the three goals, but in my opinion it was more important to assist after the three goals to be generous and pass it,” said Gracia. “He played very well today, scoring three goals. He is playing well, attacking, defending and giving a good balance to the team.”
It was a night when everything clicked in front of goal and the Hornets shed their tag as the team in the division who missed the most big chances.
“Four games before we had the most missed chances in Premier League,” said Gracia. “But we were always creating chances. Today Deulofeu had two one-v-one and he scored. In other games he didn't and this is the difference between one game and another. I am very proud of all of my players. All of them are showing their quality, their commitment. I am very happy for the supporters as well.”
In matching the 5-1 wins they achieved over Tottenham (1984/85) and Chelsea (1985/86) and falling one short of the best top-flight away win against Wolves in 1983/84, the Hornets moved up to seventh in the league and showed why Neil Warnock considers them the best side outside the top six.
“It was a very good performance,” said Gracia. “To win here is not easy. To win like we did today was outstanding. I am very proud of all my players. Playing away we are getting good results. We knew it would be a hard game. They changed their shape and they tried to be more compact and defend better but we found the spaces and scored different goals – in counter-attack and in possession.
“Our players showed good qualities and scored lots of goals so I am happy. Before the game we knew it would be important to have mobility and attack the spaces.”
Gracia is a reasonable bloke and was not about to pretend he didn't see the incident when Daryl Janmaat tripped Joshua Murphy for what looked a stonewall penalty just before half-time. Watford were only one goal to the good at that point and it was obviously a turning point.
“I understand,” said Gracia. “They can be angry with that but I prefer to not say anything about that. We played very well, scored five goals and dominated the game. We deserved this victory. Now we focus on the next game and we try to do our best.”
The Head Coach said in the week how now is the time for the team to kick on and fulfil their potential this season. There will be no resting on laurels.
“I can feel all the players are in the same direction, all are thinking about how they can help each other,” he said. “It is very good news for us. I am happy with the players, with the way they are playing. We are competing in all the games.
“We can win or we can lose, but we are always playing with the same mentality and ambition. We can achieve something different. We have 40 points which is good, but this is the past. Now we want to keep our level until the end, in the Premier League and in the FA Cup.”