MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 15:48:26

Settled Gracia enjoying life at Watford as Hornets continue Premier League rise

Settled Gracia enjoying life at Watford as Hornets continue Premier League rise
© Reuters
The Spaniard replaced Marco Silva at Vicarage Road in January 2018.

Javi Gracia says Watford feels like home after becoming the club's longest-serving Premier League manager.

Spaniard Gracia, appointed in January 2018, took charge of the Hornets for the 39th time in the top flight during Saturday's goalless draw at Brighton.

There has been a high turnover of managers at Vicarage Road in recent seasons, with Quique Sanchez Flores, Walter Mazzarri and Marco Silva all coming and going since promotion from the Championship in 2015.

But Gracia, who has a contract until 2023, is settled and enjoying life in Hertfordshire.

"To achieve something like that I think the most important thing is to keep always focused on the next day," the 48-year-old said of his record.

"From the moment I arrived here I can say I felt very comfortable and I think it's a club where I'm feeling really well.

"I don't know the time other coaches have been, I don't know my future in this club but I'm enjoying the present and trying to do my best.

"I don't like to speak about the future, I don't like to speak about the past. I prefer to be focused on the present because I think it's the best way to achieve important things.

"In this team, it's our ambition in this moment to try to be demanding and try to continue in the next games keeping our level and at the end of the season we'll see where we are.

"But nothing special about me, I prefer to be focused on the team."

Watford climbed to eighth in the table following the stalemate at the Amex Stadium.

The Hornets were second best on the south coast and would have left empty-handed had it not been for an inspired performance from goalkeeper Ben Foster.

Albion, who have now picked up just two points from five league games in 2019, were dealt a blow in the build-up to the game when midfielder Dale Stephens pulled out injured in the warm-up to be replaced by Yves Bissouma.

Mali international Bissouma has now made nine league starts since his £15million summer move from French club Lille and Seagulls boss Chris Hughton expects the 22-year-old to push for more regular first-team football.

"Bissouma showed a lot of the qualities that he has," said Hughton.

"I think he needs more games and I think he'll continue to develop with us.

"He's a younger player with really good ability and was certainly not fazed by the late call-up."


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Watford's Ben Foster makes a save against Brighton on February 2, 2019
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Javi Gracia praises 'brilliant' Ben Foster as Watford hold Brighton to draw
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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