Watford boss on why he is looking forward to Tottenham clash

© Nigel French/PA Wire

Watford boss Javi Gracia believes the Premier League clash against Tottenham will give his side a benchmark of their own ambitions this season.

Much was made of Mauricio Pochettino’s men crashing out of both cup competitions last week, the north London club now left to concentrate on securing their place in the top four and further progress in Europe.

Spurs should have South Korea forward Son Heung-min back from international duty to bolster an attack which is missing England captain Harry Kane as well as midfielder Dele Alli.

Gracia feels Watford’s recent upturn in fortunes, with their last defeat coming on Boxing Day against Chelsea, will face a stern examination.

He said: “It’s a good chance to show what we are able to do and try to show our improvements.

“In this case, playing against Tottenham, it is something different because we know it is one of the best teams in this league.

“It will be a very, very demanding game.”

Hornets boss Gracia is expected to recall his first-team regulars for the trip to Wembley on Wednesday night, having made 11 changes for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round win over Newcastle.

“All the teams at this moment have some injured players, in the games you can see one or two players (are out),” the Watford manager said at a press conference reported by the club.

“Always it’s difficult to play against Tottenham because they are a good team and they have good options.

“I know they have injured players, but after losing their chances in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, they will be very, very focused on their next game, so then I don’t know if that will help us or not.”

The Watford boss added: “My point of view is to always be positive and to give value to the players I have.”

Gracia knows Watford cannot afford to switch off against Son, the forward looking to quickly put behind him the disappointment of a shock Asian Cup quarter-final defeat by Qatar.

“He is a very good player because he has a lot of different skills,” Gracia said.

“He can play as a striker, he can play as a winger, but always playing in my opinion very, very well.

“In this moment, with those others players out, like Kane or Alli, I think it is most important his presence.”




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