Thursday 19 September 2019

Javi Gracia wants to see Gerard Deulofeu maintain his high standard every week

Deulofeu scored the opener in Watford’s exciting 3-2 win against Cardiff.

Gerard Deulofeu was on target for Watford (Yui Mok/PA)
Gerard Deulofeu was on target for Watford (Yui Mok/PA)

By Matt McGeehan, Press Association Sport

Watford boss Javi Gracia challenged Gerard Deulofeu to show consistently high performances after the Spain forward starred in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Cardiff.

Deulofeu’s solo goal and curling efforts from Jose Holebas and Domingos Quina saw the hosts take a 3-0 lead after 68 minutes, but they had to withstand a late rally from Cardiff.

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge ensured the Bluebirds’ deficit was not greater and two goals in three minutes, from Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid, set up a nervous finale before Watford ended their six-match winless run.

“Gerard has the quality like we’ve seen today,” Gracia said.

“All of them have to show his level, or that level, day by day. If we want to keep our level as a team, we need to keep our level individually as well.”

The win was Watford’s first since back-to-back successes over Wolves and Huddersfield in October and since Gracia signed a four-year contract extension last month.

The Spaniard insisted he knew his team would see out victory.

He added: “I was confident in my players. I thought in that moment we would manage well the game.

“It will be a lesson for us to learn in the future, to manage the different situations: don’t put in danger the result we have.

“We have played many games recently and we didn’t get the reward maybe we deserved. We deserved the victory today.”

Cardiff now have one point from their last 10 Premier League away games, eight of which have come this season.

Bluebirds boss Neil Warnock praised his side’s late rally, but rued the need to play catch up.

He said: “They did well. They never give up.

“It’s disappointing. We tried to frustrate them. We thought we could have a go at them in the last half hour, but it didn’t work out like that. We were 3-0 down by then.”

Warnock questioned two decisions made by referee Andrew Madley, who was taking charge of a second Premier League game and first of the season.

One was the lack of a free-kick for a first-half challenge on Josh Murphy and the other was the decision not to book Troy Deeney for sliding in to foul goalkeeper Etheridge.

Madley, the 35-year-old younger brother of former referee Bobby Madley, was in the middle despite Andre Marriner being fourth official in the game, a decision Warnock could not comprehend.

The Cardiff boss expects to have a more experienced official for next week’s match with Manchester United.

“When I’ve got Andre Marriner beside me and I’ve got a young referee, first game of the season, I don’t understand that at all me,” Warnock said.

“Whether it’s because it’s only Cardiff City, ‘we’ll let someone have an experiment today’. We’ve got one of the best referees at the side of me. I’m flabbergasted.

“Let them experiment with a top game. Give him a top game. See how he goes.

“I just mentioned it now in the referees’ room when I’ve been in. I don’t understand it at all me. But, that’s for (referees’ chief) Mike Riley and his bosses to (explain)… ‘little old Cardiff can have this referee’.

“I wish they’d put somebody else alongside me (as fourth official) that was inexperienced, rather than Andre Marriner. That rubbed it in for me.

“I don’t mind having Madley next week. I’d like a young referee against Man United at home.”

PA Media

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