Javi Gracia update on fitness of 6 Watford players and warns of challenges Newcastle present
Javi Gracia is wondering if he will still be Watford come August.
The Hornets aren’t slow to sting their managers and Gracia is the eighth to be appointed [not including caretakers!] in less than seven years.
Watford have failed to win in their last seven games and haven’t scored in over five hours of football, yet Javi Gracia claims ‘I honestly think we have had good performances.’
As for Saturday’s opponents, the Watford boss thinks Newcastle are a ‘good team’ and especially dangerous at set-pieces as well as when counter-attacking.
Watford have had their fair share of injuries and Gracia had a fitness/injury update on half a dozen players, most of it bad news for Watford fans.
“When we play against Rafa Benitez and Newcastle, we don’t know if they will change certain players or not, but if they play as they usually do, it will be 4-4-2 and we will be ready to attack and defend that shape.
“If they play with Ayoze [Perez] and [Dwight] Gayle, I think they are not very tall strikers like in other games.
“They are very quick and dangerous on the counter attack, so we have to pay attention in that situation and at set-pieces as well.
“I don’t like to look to the statistics of other teams [such as Newcastle losing their last two] and speaking about matches won or lost.
“The most important thing for us is to try and have a good performance.
“We know it will be difficult because Newcastle are a good team, but playing in our home with the support of our fans, I’m confident that we can get a good result.
“I think all of the games we’ve played at home we have played well.
“We didn’t score goals in the last game against Crystal Palace but in the first half we created four or five clear chances to score, but we didn’t.
“This weekend I prefer to focus on our team, our eleven ,and try to do better with the small things that can help us win the game.”
“Some of them are coming back and others like [Stefano] Okaka and [Roberto] Pereyra during the last game, but Okaka in this moment had an operation on Monday, he is okay but he is out of the team for the rest of the season.
“Pereyra is coming back – he is training with the team.
“[Andre] Carillo in this moment has an abductor problem, so he’s not available for the game.
“Other players like [Tom] Cleverley are out of the team, he is under treatment but I think it’s not possible for him to play this season.
“[Nathaniel] Chalobah is training with the team but we will see, he is training every day but he needs to improve his physical condition and we will see in the coming days.
“Other players like Kaboul need to improve their physical condition but he’s training with the team.
“Chalobah, not yet, but Roberto, it’s possible [to be involved against Newcastle].
“[Gerard] Deulofeu showed in the last game against Tottenham what he can do in this moment. He needs to improve his physical condition but he needs more training sessions.
“I think he can help us in this next game, but I am not sure if that’s from the beginning or in the middle of the game but I’m sure he can help us.
“In the last games [seven without a win], I honestly think we have had good performances.
“We didn’t get good results but I have to speak about the level of the team. In the last game for example, we played against a very good team in Tottenham and [lost 2-0] we created chances and shot more on target than them.
“Other games have been the same, for example against Huddersfield. They shot only once and they won the game [1-0].”
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