Sport Soccer

Sunday 24 March 2019

Surging Watford have Gracia believing this will be a season with a difference

The Hornets are seventh in the Premier League and in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Watford manager Javi Gracia celebrates after the Hornets’ 5-1 Premier League win at Cardiff (Simon Galloway/PA)
Watford manager Javi Gracia celebrates after the Hornets’ 5-1 Premier League win at Cardiff (Simon Galloway/PA)

By Press Association Sport staff

Javi Gracia insisted high-flying Watford can achieve “something different” after beating Cardiff 5-1 for their biggest win of the season.

Watford have now lost only once in 11 games in climbing to seventh in the Premier League and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

“All the players are pulling in the same direction and helping each other,” Watford boss Gracia said after a Gerard Deulofeu hat-trick and a Troy Deeney brace secured a league double over Cardiff.

“I am happy with the way we are playing.

“We are competing in all the games and, with this ambition, I am sure we can achieve something different this season.

“We have 40 points now which is good, but we want to keep going in the league and FA Cup.”

Deulofeu’s treble was the first by a Watford player in the top-flight since Mark Falco scored a hat-trick against Aston Villa in October 1986.

The Spaniard also set up Deeney’s first goal before he was substituted in the closing stages and received a huge ovation from the travelling Watford fans.

Gracia added: “Deulofeu played really well to score three goals and was very generous to assist Troy after scoring the goals.

“I am very proud of all my players, they are showing their quality and commitment.

“The team is getting better and better, but we must try to improve.”

Cardiff, for whom Sol Bamba scored a late consolation, remain one point and one place above the relegation zone after a disastrous second half.

But manager Neil Warnock insisted it could have been a different story had referee Simon Hooper awarded Cardiff a penalty when Daryl Janmaat appeared to flatten Josh Murphy just before half-time with Watford leading 1-0.

“Going in 1-1 with our tails up and the crowd behind us it’s a different ball game,” Warnock said.

“I still don’t understand, for whatever reason, that it’s not given. It’s bizarre.

“He (Hooper) is in a great position and unfortunately none of his linesmen could help him. It’s the most straightforward one you’ll get.

“VAR would have solved that in 30 seconds, everybody on the pitch knew it was a penalty.

“I like Simon as a referee and he’s not done it on purpose. He’s seen it back on video and he’s upset himself about the situation.”

Press Association

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