09 Mar Javi Gracia not fearing a Troy Deeney-based backlash from Arsenal
Watford manager Javi Gracia does not expect Troy Deeney’s “cojones” comment to have a negative impact on his side’s Premier League visit to Arsenal on Sunday.
Deeney suggested the Gunners lacked courage after the Hornets came from behind to beat them in October’s reverse fixture at Vicarage Road, saying: “There’s a reason why they lost and it wasn’t because of one penalty. It’s (about having) a bit of cojones, a bit of nuts.”
Arsene Wenger has said that his Arsenal side will show Watford exactly what they are about on the pitch, but Gracia is not worried by the Frenchman’s rallying cry.
“No, I don’t feel that pressure,” Gracia said. “I have spoken about the respect we have for other clubs and that is no different in the next game.
“I don’t know what has happened in the past but I am sure our players will do their best as they do in all the matches.
“I don’t know what he (Deeney) tried to say, I think he was speaking about the need to be competitive, I don’t know exactly.
“Maybe he tried to explain that you need to play at a high level in this league.
“Arsenal is a very good club, a very good team with very good players and I know that this game will be very tough.
“We are concentrating on doing a great job and doing our best because we will need to be.
“Both teams will try and show on the pitch their best performance and try to get the points.
“I don’t like to speak about what people have said, I am just focused on the next game and be polite with the other team’s coaches and players.”
Gracia’s impressive start to life in the Hornets’ dugout – which saw him nominated for the February manager of the month – has coincided with a return to form for Deeney.
The striker’s future looked bleak under former boss Marco Silva, but three goals in four games have reiterated his importance.
“It depends only on Troy, he is doing a great job and scoring,” Gracia said.
“Troy is not only important because he is scoring, he is important for many other things.
“I don’t know if he will score in every match but I am very happy with him because he has a very good attitude.”
Watford visit the Emirates to play an Arsenal side who have lost their last three Premier League games, though the Gunners did restore some order with an impressive win over AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.
“It’s always a good moment to play against Arsenal, I try to enjoy every game, every game is a chance to get points,” said Gracia.
“It’s always difficult to play against a big club but we are confident we can do it.
“I am concentrating on my team only and I want to see my team in the best way, I am not thinking about the other team.”