Watford boss Gracia demands victory as Fulham battle to delay drop

Posted Tuesday, April 02, 2019 by PA

Watford boss Gracia demands victory as Fulham battle to delay drop

Watford boss Javi Gracia feels concentrating on beating relegation-haunted Fulham would be the best way to prepare for their FA Cup semi-final with Wolves.

The Cottagers head to Vicarage Road on the brink of dropping out of the Premier League, with another defeat set to see them follow Huddersfield down into the Championship.

Gracia said at a press conference reported by the club: “If they (Fulham) are in this situation at this moment, it’s because they have had problems for a long period, not just now or tomorrow.

“I know the next game is very important for them, and I am very sorry for them. I know what it’s like to be sacked, to be relegated with my home-town team.

“But we are professionals and must always try to do our best to win the next game.

“I think the best way to prepare for that important game we play on Sunday is to try and win the next game. That is the best way to respect the FA Cup and to respect the Premier League as well.”

Fulham caretaker boss Scott Parker is desparate the game does not mark their relegation wake.

The Cottagers travel to Vicarage Road on Tuesday night knowing a defeat will see them follow Huddersfield into the Championship with five games still to play.

Former Fulham midfielder Parker replaced Claudio Ranieri at the end of February, but his side have lost all four matches since.

Parker said: “I think a win is vitally important. The scenario is what it is, but it’s a massive game for us to not be relegated tomorrow night.

“The team, the club and everyone need a win. Performances have got better but ultimately we sit here with no wins for some time, so the result is key.

“We understand the situation and how tough it’s going to be to stay in this division. Even a draw could give us something to build on.”

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic missed the home defeat by Manchester City with an ongoing stomach muscle injury but he was able to train on Monday and could be involved. Defender Tim Ream and midfielder Jean Michael Seri are back in contention.

Watford will be without forwards Isaac Success (knee) and Adalberto Penaranda (hamstring) and midfielder Tom Cleverley (calf) remains unavailable.

Defender Daryl Janmaat should be fine after feeling unwell during the second half at Old Trafford and Nathaniel Chalobah could feature.


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