First Team 19/05/2019

Owner & Chairman’s Statement: Thank You

To all Watford supporters around the world – and especially those 32,500 of our fans inside Wembley Stadium yesterday for the FA Cup Final – we offer our sincere thanks for your unwavering unity with the team, our coach, the players and the club.

It was humbling not just to witness a sea of flags accompanied by proud voices everywhere across our half of the stadium, but then to also look around the Royal Box and notice the applause being offered towards the actions of our supporters.

This moment truly served to put into context just how far we have come together as a football club. We said right back in 2012 that if we are together then we can achieve great things. We have – and we will continue to do so.

The achievement of reaching an FA Cup Final and having a chance to compete for one of just three titles available to clubs inside the confines of this country should never be diminished by yesterday’s game itself or indeed the final scoreline.

Of course we will all reflect on what could have been had circumstances been different at various points during the 90 minutes, but those thoughts will be lost over time.

What will never be forgotten is how our supporters reminded us what a truly special club we all serve.

This is just the start of the club’s journey competing against the best. We may not always be able to be successful, like yesterday, but we will not go away and will return unbowed, with renewed vigour and determination, to improve on the feats of this season.

It is in our power that we will be stronger for all of yesterday’s experiences, and with our continued ambitions to see Watford Football Club loved by an ever-increasing family of supporters around the world then nothing can stop us from being successful together.

Here’s to a bright and vibrant 2019/20 as we continue to respect our past and seek to create history in the future.

Once again, our heartfelt thanks to all Watford supporters.

Gino Pozzo and Scott Duxbury
Owner and Chairman, Watford Football Club

First Team 18/05/2019

Gracia: “Today We Suffered Together”

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

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia agreed that the missed chance by Roberto Pereyra proved to the defining moment of the FA Cup final with Manchester City.

The Head Coach has been around long enough to know the Hornets wouldn’t have been guaranteed a first piece of major silverware had the Argentine tucked that one away as City would have had 80 minutes to get back into this one and we all saw how angry it made them when Brighton scored early on last week.

But the Hornets drawing first blood would have played perfectly into Gracia’s well-crafted game plan and given them something to hand their hat on. Even Pep Guardiola admitted “it would have been difficult for us” had that one gone in. As it was, City scored 16 minutes later, were two up by the break and then ruthlessly picked the Hornets off as they opened up in the second half.

“It was a very tough result,” said the Watford Head Coach. “It’s a difficult moment to recognise other things but my players deserve more recognition. Today we have lost, and City were better than us, but there was a moment in the game, different moments. We started well, we created the best chance with Roberto Pereyra after ten minutes. You need to score that chance if you want to have some chance to win the game. After that, it is very difficult for us. I am happy with the first part of the game but after, City showed their quality in the spaces. They have very good players and I congratulate them.”

Gracia made no apologies for departing from his usual 4-4-2 and playing a more conservative 4-5-1. He knew he risked being carved apart inside ten minutes if he had allowed City to outnumber them in midfield.

“We did really well in the first part,” he said. “We played against them twice [this season] and in both games we have competed well. It was really tough but we tried. It was a good experience and I know in this moment it is hard for us to look at the future. But we are not satisfied with the defeat and it will be good for us in the future.”

Gracia stood on the edge of the box at full-time and stood for several minutes just applauding the fans who were unwavering in their support. They were behind their team throughout and all largely stayed until the bitter end to applaud the fact the team never threw the towel in, their efforts in reaching the final and a record-breaking league season.

“I am very proud of my supporters,” he said. “It was difficult for them but they supported us until the end and I am very proud of this club. It is difficult for me to explain with words my feelings for them. I am very proud to be part of this club and very proud of them. It is difficult to accept this defeat, but we have enjoyed a lot this season and today we suffered together. Sometimes you have to live this experience, to lose these games to do it better in the future.”