Watford produced a professional job against Huddersfield Town, prevailing 3-0 over their visitors at Vicarage Road through goals from Roberto Pereyra, Gerard Deulofeu and Isaac Success.
The win continued the Hornets’ impressive start to the season, and head coach Javi Gracia held a press conference after the game in which he heaped heavy praise on his players but insisted there is still work to be done for his side to reach their full potential.
Victory over the Terriers
In the build up to the game, Gracia described David Wagner's men as 'one of the most difficult games we can play'. However, it turned out to be the Hornet’s biggest margin of victory since they defeated Chelsea 4-1 in February.
The Spaniard accredits the victory to the two first-half goals, both of which were sublime individual efforts from two tangibly talented footballers in Pereyra and Deulofeu and came at a time when the visitors were arguably on top.
“It was like the last game against Wolves when we scored two goals in the first half,” Gracia said. “Huddersfield had two or three good chances to score and in that moment [Ben] Foster kept us in the game and after scoring two goals we were able to win.
“We have to be demanding, we have to know today it wasn’t our best game and try to improve many things to have options in the next games as well.”
With the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Will Hughes, Pereyra and Deulofeu, Watford had a wealth of individual quality to boast on the pitch but the humble head coach took the opportunity to praise the team effort instead.
“I’m proud of all my players." said the 48-year old. "Some of them are scoring goals and playing at a high level but I think our strength is the team and the squad. I know actions like Pereyra and Deulofeu today change the game and were very important but I prefer to give the importance to the squad.
“I prefer the last goal where after a good free-kick, after three good passes Success was able to score his first goal in the Premier League [this season]. I prefer collective goals than individual actions but all of them were amazing goals.
“We’ve tried many times [to work on the third goal] and today we scored and I’m very proud of it. Set pieces are important. We played against Huddersfield who have scored four goals and all of them from set pieces. Today we have defended well against this team. It was very demanding for us and not only that, we were able to score.”
Best ever start to a top-flight campaign
Having amassed a points tally of 19 from the first 10 games, this is now the most impressive start in the club’s history of top-flight football, better even than in 1982/83 when Graham Taylor led his Watford side to second.
Yet Gracia refuses to get caught up in conversation regarding records and history, insisting instead on a game-by-game focus as he looks to continue the good spot of form.
“I think it’s important to win the game today and I’m proud to get that achievement but I prefer to think only about the next game. I don’t spend much time looking at the table — I think it's not good for us. It’s better to be focused on the next game and trying to do our best.”
Comparisons have been drawn between Gracia’s Hornets and Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City side which claimed the Premier League title in 2015/16.
Despite utilising a similar 4-4-2 formation that combines a stout defence with elegant attacking football, and starting the season with the same amount of points as Ranieri’s men, Gracia does not believe his team will go on to win the league as Ranieri and Leicester did two and a half years ago.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to achieve being champion at the end, I don’t think so. But we’re going to try to enjoy every game and try to make our supporters enjoy with us so they feel proud of us in the games we play.
“I’m very demanding — I think the best way to achieve a good future is to be focused on the present and to do our best in the present. This way the owners, the supporters, the players and all the workers of the club will be happier and proud of us.”