First Team 27/09/2018

Success: “We Fought Really Hard To The End”

Watford forward Isaac Success said he was immensely proud of the team’s performance last night, despite exiting the Carabao Cup after losing out on penalties to Tottenham at Stadium MK.

The Nigerian led the line as a lone striker, holding the ball up well and getting himself on the scoresheet - putting an angled drive past Paulo Gazzaniga in the Spurs goal to open the scoring.

Defeat aside, Success was pleased with the opportunity to play and the way in which the team competed against a strong Tottenham side.

“We gave everything from the start of the game,” said Success. “I think we were just a bit unlucky. I’m proud of the team.

“We fought really hard to the end of the game, and I just want to say congratulations to the players, and to the team in general for their efforts. 

“I’m just happy to be part of this great team.”

Getting his second goal in as many Carabao Cup games - his two starts this season - Success was keen to highlight the strength of character in the group of players not starting in the Hornets’ Premier League games.

“I’m proud of myself and the team as well,” he said. “I just want to say thank you to the coach as well for the opportunity given to myself and to the rest of the players as well. I think we really showed our character and determination that we really want to play.

“I think with the performance we brought out today, getting the victory would have been something precious for the team, but we keep our head up and get ready for the weekend’s game against Arsenal.”

Pressed on his own performance, after giving glowing praise to others, the striker said he thinks there is still more to come from him as an individual, after a dominant display against a backline that read Aurier, Sánchez, Alderweireld, Davies - giving each of them problems as he worked all across the top of the pitch.

“I wasn’t scared of getting tired - this is my second 90 minutes of the season,” said Success. “I just felt like I needed to give everything for the team. 

“When I get tired I can be changed, but I kept pushing to the end and I was happy to get the first goal for the team.

“My aim was to keep the ball always, and to make sure the team can come up and support and that's exactly what I did. 

“I tried with all my activity inside the pitch to help my team, and I’m happy that my fitness level is getting better day by day, so hopefully I have more to give to Watford and to the fans.

“Every day, week-in, week-out, I just want to be part of the team and the success in the future.”

First Team 27/09/2018

Gracia: “I Am Very Proud Of All Of Them”

By Kevin Affleck

Javi Gracia was keen to not let the controversy of Tottenham's late match-turning penalty overshadow the dynamic and spirited performance of his much-changed team in last night's shoot-out defeat in the Carabao Cup third round.

His opposite number, Mauricio Pochettino, picked an XI boasting 380 international caps in a sign of how seriously he is viewing this competition yet the Hornets, featuring two 18-year-olds in the centre of the park, went toe to toe with them, pushing them all the way.

"We tried until the end against a very good team," said Gracia. "I am very proud. We have played very well with young players keeping a high level.

"We scored at the start of the second half and then we tried to manage the game. We had to defend close to the posts but we had chances to score on the counter-attack. We know that if you don't kill the game, then Tottenham can score one or two goals."

It said plenty about the control Watford had of the game that Pochettino was forced to send for the cavalry and throw on Son Heung-Min, Mousa Dembele and Fernando Llorente. 

"We started winning and we saw Tottenham changing players, good players like Son, Dembele and Llorente. It was recognition that we were playing at a good level.

"It [tonight's performance] showed Watford is not only about 11 players. We have a good squad and we are going to compete always."

It was hard to single out individuals from a remarkably cohesive performance but teenagers Ben Wilmot and Domingos Quina played with astonishing maturity in the middle of midfield, while Isaac Success was a wrecking ball in attack.

"The young players played really well, all of them," Gracia said.

"Ben and Domingos have played really well. Success scored one goal and did amazing work for the team, I think all of them played well. It's not easy when they don't usually play. I am very proud of all of them."

Gracia does not give much away in his press conferences and plays the straightest of bats, so it said a lot when he strayed from his usual script to express his dismay at the award of Tottenham's 82nd-minute penalty, and the subsequent sending off of Christian Kabasele.

The Hornets' Head Coach felt the harsh exit from the Carabao Cup could be traced back to that moment.

"First of all I am very proud of my players," said Gracia. "Today we played really well. I like to respect the referee's decisions and support them because I know it is not easy, but today it is hard to accept, first the penalty and then after the red card. I don't understand that decision.

"What I saw was both Dele and Kabasele fighting with the arms, trying to win the possession. I don't speak only about the penalty, but the next decision, the red card. I don't understand why the referee showed that red card in that moment."

See more post-match reaction from Gracia in the video above.