Gracia makes Watford pledge as FA Cup final looms

Oli Fisher

Javi Gracia is confident his Watford players can keep thoughts of next week’s FA Cup final at bay as they prepare to end their Premier League campaign against West Ham.

Victory against the Hammers would be enough to secure a top-10 finish and Gracia believes that target is enough for his squad to focus on their immediate task.

Gracia told a press conference: “All my players are ready to play and are only focused on this game. They know the final is waiting but this way they can prepare the best way possible.

“We have enough time to prepare for the final. We know it is an important game for us. It is a day to enjoy and making the last effort to win the trophy – but the next game is the most important one.”

Besides the accompanying financial boost, a top-10 finish would round off a superb campaign from the Hornets, and one which Gracia said had left him “living with pride”.

And following the remarkable successes of English clubs in Europe this week, Gracia said the prospect of Watford winning a major trophy would underline their achievement in a game increasingly dominated by the ‘big six’.

Gracia added: “This week was something really, really amazing for English football and it speaks very well about English football.

“All these finals (the Champions League and the Europa League) involved teams in the big six. We are the only team outside of the big six playing for a title.”

Gracia’s desire to maintain momentum going into the cup final is likely to be illustrated by his team selection, which he insists will be strong enough to finish the regular season on a high.

But whether Gracia opts to risk Etienne Capoue is unclear despite the newly-crowned Hornets player of the year being declared fit having missed the Chelsea game with a minor groin complaint.