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Xisco Munoz happy to be part of Premier League history

By September 24, 2021No Comments

Watford boss Xisco Munoz is pleased to be involved in history on Saturday when Australian referee Jarred Gillett takes charge of their match with Newcastle but joked he would reserve judgement until after the game.

Queensland-born Gillett will become the first referee from outside the British Isles to officiate a Premier League fixture at Vicarage Road this weekend.

The 34-year-old first moved to England in 2019 after success in the A-League in his native Australia and has continued his upward trajectory in the UK with promotion to the Select Group 1 of referees by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) before the start of the season.

Gillett’s involvement in the Premier League so far in the 2021-22 campaign has been limited to being at Stockley Park to assist with VAR but that will change when he leads out Watford and Newcastle.

“Always it is important to have the referees,” Hornets manager Xisco said with a smile.

“No, it is perfect. I wish him all the best. It is very well when we have this history and I am sure we have a very good game with him.

“After the game… maybe I can change the answer but right now it is like this.”

Xisco is familiar with Gillett after the Australian took charge of three Watford matches in the Sky Bet Championship last season, including a 2-1 home defeat to QPR in February.

The referee dealt with a Premier League side in midweek when he was in the middle for Arsenal’s Carabao Cup success over AFC Wimbledon at the Emirates and his decision to award a Gunners penalty in the first half made it six games in a row he has given a spot-kick.

Watford attackers Ismaila Sarr and Emmanuel Dennis could keep Gillett busy on Saturday, with the former the second most fouled player in the top flight this season while Dennis has been penalised 15 times which is the most of anyone in the Premier League.

Boss Xisco is more focused on their attacking quality and, being an ex-winger, admitted he tries to give the duo advice when he can, adding: “Always because sometimes when you are manager, maybe you are not more clever than them but you have more experience and experience sometimes is important.

“Always we try to give good directions and good things. Also we try to give information because we have more time and we try to give the problem and solutions. Sometimes you have this problem in front and I give a solution and this is my job, not just my job but the job of my staff too.”

One of the key issues to solve for the Watford boss and his coaching team ahead of the weekend is how to stop Magpies talisman Allan Saint-Maximin.

While Newcastle have yet to win in the Premier League this season, the skilful playmaker has two goals and the same number of assists from his five appearances.

“Maxi is a very important player for them but it is important we have respect for all the players,” Xisco insisted.

“They are a very good team with a very good manager so it will be a hard game and it is important we have good moments. We need a long time being at a good level in this game.”