Javi Gracia speaks ahead of Watford v Newcastle United “I have good feelings”
Javi Gracia could take his team as high as seventh on Saturday, if Watford beat Newcastle United.
No wonder the manager says ‘I have good feelings’ at the minute, with his players ‘competing in all the games we’ve played’ this season.
After losing Richarlison to Everton in a £40m+ summer transfer, now it is PSG said to be desperate to buy midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure.
However, the Watford boss claims to be very relaxed about the situation, declaring ‘For me Doucoure is a great player, a very important player for us. It doesn’t surprise me other clubs want to sign him.’
Watford have injury problems at the back going into Saturday’s match but once again the question will be whether Newcastle have the quality to trouble them?
“I think we are in a good moment.
“I have good feelings.
“We can win, we can lose, but when I see my players they always give their best and are competing in all the games we’ve played and with different options against all the teams we’ve played so far.
“I’m happy with their behaviour and I am sure we will keep it in the future as well.
“You always learn things from games you play.
“If you ask my opinion, that game (at St James Park) we played really well.
“We had chances to win that game, but Newcastle took their chance after a free-kick. After that they won. I don’t know who deserved the victory, but I was happy with the performance. It was just a bad result.
“We’ll see at the end of the season what we are able to achieve but, in this moment, what we need is the three points against Newcastle.
“They are much better now, they have changed the shape and are playing more times with three at the back. This way they have got better results.
“They have a good squad, a good team, good players and in the beginning they had Rondon injured sometimes. Now he is playing more times. It’s a good squad.
“I respect Rafa a lot, in Spain and in England he always made a great job, not only for the title. All the managers respect him a lot, and me as well. We usually speak about the game and we spend the time speaking about many things, not only about football.
“The shape they will play will be different.
They don’t look for the possession, they try to surprise with counter-attacks. It will be different.
“For me Doucoure is a great player, a very important player for us.
“It doesn’t surprise me other clubs want to sign him because he’s a very good player.
“In this moment he’s playing for us and I tried to help him to improve his level thinking he’s going to be with us for a long time.
“Both [Will Hughes and Adalberto Peñaranda] are ready,
“Maybe Will has trained with the team more times. He doesn’t need to train a lot to be ready. Peñaranda needs more time because he had to stop for longer.
“He [Christian Kabasele] is not training with the team. After the [Chelsea] game he didn’t feel very well. He is feeling some pain, but he will be ready soon. I can’t tell you when he’ll be ready as he has some pain in the shoulder, arm and back.
“We have other centre-backs injured and it will be a good chance for someone.
“Britos is ready. He is training with the team for a long time and I think he is ready.
“I think he [Ben Wilmot] plays better as a midfielder. We know he can play as centre-back very well, like he did in the Carabao Cup. He is a good young player.
“You see the minutes the players have played, I think he [Craig Cathcart] is the player with the most minutes. He is always important. Now we have different problems with Prödl, with Kabasele, so we don’t have a lot of options.
“But you know Craig, he is always ready and for his national team as well.”
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]