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Javi Gracia press conference: Confirms 3 players out injured but says he could make 2 or 11 changes against Newcastle United…

2 years ago

Javi Gracia has confirmed that three players are ruled out of Newcastle game through injury, including their best player.

Sebastian Prödl and Kiko Femenía are out injured, as well as the excellent Abdoulaye Doucoure.

However, the Watford boss also confirmed that both Will Hughes and Craig Cathcart could play.

Like every manager at a pre-match press conference for an FA Cup game, Javi Gracia was asked about how many changes he intends to make.

He has a small advantage over Rafa Benitez as Watford play away at Tottenham on Wednesday, whereas Newcastle have a day less recovery time as they face Man City on Tuesday.

For the third round, Gracia changed the entire team, though that was against non-league Woking.

Toying with the press, the Watford manager said about Saturday: ‘In this moment I don’t know whether I will change 11, eight or two…’

Having lost at St James Park and only avoided a defeat at home thanks to a late equaliser, Javi Gracia makes the point that with first choice players Watford didn’t win either game.

Although for the 1-1 home match against Newcastle, he did actually make six changes, as they’d had a tough game against Chelsea shortly beforehand, plus it was during the hectic festive fixtures.

Sitting in seventh, Javi Gracia has his team safe from relegation already, so that plays no part in his thinking, how Rafa Benitez would love to change places…

Javi Gracia:

“Will Hughes is ready, he is training, Craig Cathcart as well. Both are available.

“Sebastian is injured, he is in the recovery process.

“Kiko is injured after the last game, he has a little problem in his hamstring and he won’t be available for the next game.

“Doucoure is the player that last week when I spoke to the medical staff, they told me maybe one or two days he could be available, but now he needs to rest and wait more time because he is out of the team. He needs more time to recover from a little problem with a ligament in his right knee, he will available in one week.”

How many changes?:

“I think we always try to choose the best option.

“It is true that  in the last [FA Cup] game [against Woking] we changed a lot of players.

“Thinking that option was the best for us in that moment because we played a lot of games, five in 15 days.

“It was necessary to change players for that game because they were in a better condition than the others.”

“For sure we are going to change some players.

“In this moment I don’t know whether I will change 11, eight or two…

“We try to choose the best option to compete.

“We played two games against Newcastle and we didn’t win.

“Maybe with other players we can do it.

“There are players not playing in the Premier League and maybe this is a good moment for them to play and show that they are training and playing well – some of them showed against Woking that they are ready.”


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