First Team 22/04/2019

Masina: “Seventh Place Is An Achievable Goal”

Adam Masina says it has been difficult for him to adjust to life at Watford, but that he is a better player and person for it

With José Holebas injured, the Moroccan-born former Italy U21 left-back has been playing more regularly in recent weeks, meaning Hornets fans are just starting to see what he is capable of.

It comes at a time of the season where everyone is beginning to realise what the Golden Boys might be capable of, too, with seventh place in the Premier League now a realistic target with four games remaining. There’s also the added caveat of a first FA Cup final in 35 years.

Masina is backing Watford to be successful in the final few weeks of the season.

“[Seventh place] is one of the achievable goals for the club,” said the full-back. “It’s going to be tough because there are a few clubs competing for it, but we are confident we can make it.

“It’s a good way to face the final in the best way possible so we will compete and prepare in this way.”

The match against Huddersfield was Masina’s 10th start in the Premier League, with six of those coming in the last eight games. The former Bologna defender has had to be patient waiting for his opportunity, with teammate Holebas is such good form.

“It’s been a difficult season for me coming from a different club and country,” Masina explained. “Especially when I played a lot before and this season I have been on the bench a lot.

“But I have improved a lot as a person and a player and I will keep working hard to increase my personal level like every player should do.”

The fact Masina – despite his rotational place in the side – is happy and motivated at this stage of the season is testament to the man management of Javi Gracia.

“He makes us train very well, and we always give 100 percent in every session,” said Masina. “I really like him as a manager.

“Every player is ready to make a contribution to the club and to the team, and we can all make a difference.”

First Team 21/04/2019

Foster: “Deulofeu Can Always Win You Games”

Ben Foster says Gerard Deulofeu can always win you games, after the little magician scored two goals to defeat Huddersfield on the road.

They were his fifth and sixth goals in his last five Premier League away games, backing up Foster’s claim about the Hornets’ match-winner.

He has been accused of being inconsistent in the past, and has needed to adjust to playing in a more central striking position this season, but now seems to be putting all that behind him with a string of impressive performances.

“With players like Geri, you are going to have times where you might get a little bit frustrated, but he’s somebody that is so invaluable to the team,” said Foster.

“You want him in your team because he can always win you games. 

“He’s always looking to go forward with the ball, and sometimes he drags the whole team with him. It’s nice to watch.”

Deulofeu opens the scoring for Watford after just five minutes

Deulofeu has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions for the Golden Boys, and two of those were near-identical.

His first goal in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Wolves dazzled, and he reproduced that same technique for the opener at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The ball arced towards the far corner and found the back of the net via the base of the post – it’s no fluke – something that the former Barcelona man does all the time, says Foster.

“He’s lovely at that – once he’s got you stood still you’re in trouble!” said the former England goalkeeper. 

“It’s got minimum backlift. He’s got real control and knows exactly where he’s putting it – he does that in training all the time. 

“He’s a nightmare because he’s one of those who can make you sit down. He can beat you with his left foot, his right foot, he can go round you, or he can do that dinky shot thing where the goalie has no chance.”