Saturday 16 February 2019

Crystal Palace are not a one-man team – Gracia

Watford manager will not hatch a plan to stop Wilfried Zaha ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park.

Wilfried Zaha has impressed for Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)
Wilfried Zaha has impressed for Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)

By Philip Duncan Press Association Sport

Watford manager Javi Gracia will not devise a special plan to stop Wilfried Zaha as he denied Crystal Palace are a one-man team.

The Hornets travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday aiming to build on an encouraging festive period where they lost only one match, a 2-1 Boxing Day defeat at home to Chelsea.

Zaha may have starred for Palace in recent times – indeed, Eden Hazard was the only player to have completed more dribbles and won more fouls in the Premier League than the Ivorian last season – but Gracia said: “We have a collective vision, and we never think about an individual plan.

“We know that Zaha is an important player for them because he has a lot of qualities, and a lot of skill, but they have very good players, more than only one.

“Zaha dribbles a lot and we know we have to be ready to control him, but Andros Townsend, Andre Ayew, and other players they have are dangerous, too. They have a strong squad.”

As Gracia approaches a year in charge at Vicarage Road, the Spaniard has provided some much-needed stability , and was rewarded by the club’s owners with a long-term contract before Christmas.

Watford are eighth, on course for their best-ever finish in the Premier League, and could be forgiven for having one eye on qualifying for Europe.

“I am happy, but I always want more,” added Gracia. “I always want to improve.

“When we start the season, I want to be the champion, I want to be the first one. I have that vision, and that ambition. After that, we will be the best team in the competition. It’s my expectation and I want to work with that mentality.

“Every game we play is a good challenge for us and is a chance for us to show what we are able to do.

“This point of view is better because at the end of the road we can see our achievement. I prefer to enjoy every day and be ambitious in every training session. We can improve in every little detail.”

Gracia will take a late decision on whether to include Christian Kabasele and Andre Gray for the trip to Palace after the duo returned to training from their respective injury lay-offs on Thursday.

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport