Friday 23 August 2019

Gracia hails 'angry' Hornets as sting in tale sends Wolves packing

Watford 3 Wolves 2

Watford's Gerard Deulofeu celebrates scoring his side's third goal. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Watford's Gerard Deulofeu celebrates scoring his side's third goal. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

John Percy

Watford manager Javi Gracia admitted Gerard Deulofeu was "angry" when he scored the remarkable goal which sparked their Wembley fightback.

Deulofeu swung the game in Watford's favour with an sublime chip 11 minutes from time, adding the winning goal in extra-time to take the club into their first FA Cup final since 1984.

Watford manager Javi Gracia celebrates after the final whistle. Photo: PA
Watford manager Javi Gracia celebrates after the final whistle. Photo: PA

The former Barcelona player was introduced in the 66th minute after Wolves had moved into a 2-0 lead.

And it was Deulofeu's sensational display which proved crucial as Watford responded to win a Wembley classic, with Gracia claiming his cameo was driven on by his frustration at being named on the bench.

"Everybody knows he is an amazing player and today it was difficult for me to start with Gerard beside me on the bench," he said.

"I think he was angry when he scored that goal. I like to see my players that way and with that attitude, he felt angry at this moment and wanted to show what he is able to do.

Wolverhampton Wanderers players appear dejected after the match. Photo: PA
Wolverhampton Wanderers players appear dejected after the match. Photo: PA

"He always accepts the decision. I suppose he would be angry because he wanted to play in the semi-finals. He has played in almost all the games (in the FA Cup) and wanted to help the team.

"They were two important goals, the first one with high quality. We tried until the end and sometimes it happens if you believe. Today we showed our strength as a squad, our belief. I am very proud."

Troy Deeney, the captain, was another Hornets hero after scoring the penalty in injury-time which brought the scores level.

Deeney had won the spot-kick after he was fouled by Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker and then arrowed the penalty past John Ruddy.

"I've said on many occasions that this team has something special," said Deeney.

"We're not the most talented, we're not all that, but the hard work and desire at 2-0 down - many teams would've called it a day but we kept fighting and kept going and brought the little man [Deulofeu] on, who produced a bit of magic.

"We've got room to grow, there's not a ceiling on us yet as a team. For a club of this size, let's enjoy this moment.

"Manchester City are a formidable team, probably the best team in Europe, but it's a one-off game and we need to come in with belief and know that this hard work can get us a long way."

Wolves head coach Nuno Espirito Santo admitted the defeat was "a tough moment" and criticised the game management of his players.

His team were 2-0 in front with 11 minutes left after goals from Matt Doherty - with yet another great header - and Raul Jimenez, before Watford's late response forced extra-time.

"It is a tough moment of real pain and disappointment. The feeling is that we had it (the win)," said Nuno, who also accepted the pivotal penalty decision which was confirmed by VAR.

"It went away from us, we have to look at it, we have to realise in the last minute of the game we should manage better.

"We have to stick together. We will keep going. We must prepare well for the next game and keep growing as a team and try to reach a semi-final in the future and win it.

"It is tough, sometimes the pain that you feel makes you grow. You have to feel it as a group. We will stick together because it is our identity. It is relentless, we never give up and we will come again.

"It is a terrific season. Not only this season, last season we were in the Championship and came to the Premier League.

"We keep on fighting each game, each challenge we had ahead of us we go and compete. That will not change, ever." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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