Javi Gracia lauds Watford's attacking quality after beating Cardiff
Photo: Getty Images - Richard Heathcote

Javi Gracia lauds Watford's attacking quality after beating Cardiff

Watford's attacking play shone through as they avoided a late scare to defeat Cardiff on Saturday. 

Matt Dawson

Javi Gracia played down what was almost a nightmare final ten minutes as Watford beat Cardiff 3-2.

The Hornets were winless in six but rediscovered their sting in attack as their manager decided to focus on the positives going forward, rather than the fact they witnessed defensive lapses late on.

Watford were 3-0 up thanks to goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Jose Holebas and Domingos Quina but the Bluebirds hit back through Junior Hoilett and Bobby Reid.

Attacking quality

Going forward, Watford were excellent as they managed to avoid a third consecutive home defeat in the top flight for the first time since April 1988. They scored three outstanding goals, one which was a terrific solo effort from Deulofeu before curling strikes from Holebas and Quina outside the area put the home side in control.

Gracia reflected: "We created a lot of chances today. I'm happy with the way we have attacked. Everybody knows it's difficult to attack Cardiff. They are tight at marking and strong in the challenge. It's not easy to find spaces in attack, but today we have done."

Although missing several chances, particularly through Roberto Pereyra either side of half time, Watford's finishing was exceptional. Gracia revealed it came about after hard work on the training pitch. "We try to finish with more precision and we did something special this week [in training]. We try to improve," the Spaniard said.

Individual displays

Watford's stand out man on the day was Deulofeu. The former Barcelona man not only scored an outstanding effort, weaving his way through the Cardiff defence but he also notched an assist, laying the ball on a plate for Holebas to convert. "Gerard has the quality like we saw today. He scored an amazing goal," commented Gracia. 

Deulofeu hasn't sustained the consistency needed to remain at a top club, but against Cardiff, his quality shone through. After not starting against Everton last Monday, Gracia explained why he played from the off on Saturday. "Today we thought it would be a good game for him today to overcome their tight marking with his mobility and one-touch passing," the Watford manager revealed. 

19-year-old Quina was also exceptional in midfield for the Hornets. It was just his second Premier League start and he didn't look out of place. He was composed on the ball and his decision making was hugely intelligent for such a young player.

With Watford missing Etienne Capoue through suspension and Will Hughes due to injury he really stepped up. Assessing the player, Gracia noted: "We have a young player and he's showing his level. He's with us in this moment. I know his present is good but his future will be much better."

Cardiff almost fight back 

Watford were coasting to victory but heading into the final ten minutes, the visitors scored twice in as many minutes. However, it was a moment in the game that didn't concern Gracia. "I was confident in my players and I thought in the moment we will manage the game," he asserted. 

The festive action is now in full flow and with games against West Ham, Chelsea and Newcastle to come over the Christmas period, Gracia claims that they'll be able to improve after what happened in the final ten minutes. "It will be a lesson for us to learn in the future to manage the situations - to not put danger in our result."