Javi Gracia has defended his decision to rotate his starting lineup after his Watford side were held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle at Vicarage Road.
The home side started brightly with Gerard Deulofeu being denied by Martin Dubravka after being played through on goal, and he was soon made to rue his missed opportunity. Matt Ritchie played an inviting ball into the box which Salomon Rondon managed to get his head on the end of, directing it beyond Ben Foster and into the back of the net to give the visitors the lead.
Watford went in desperate search of an equalising goal, however the Hornets found it hard to break down Newcastle's defensive line. Then finally with 10 minutes remaining substitute Abdoulaye Doucoure got on the end of a Deulofeu cross, with his glancing header finding the corner of the net getting his side back on level terms.
The home side went in search of a winning goal, but couldn't find one and were made to settle for a 1-1 draw. Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Gracia insisted he was pleased with Watford's overall performance and admitted he felt that if his side had taken their chances then they may have won the game.
He said: "It was a difficult game. We knew before the start that after conceding the goal it was even more difficult but we had the possession. We knew we would have the possession, but it wasn't enough to control the game all the time.
"We created good chances in the beginning and when they scored their goal it was more difficult for us. We tried until the end. We created some new chances and we scored one goal for the draw.
"We started the game well. If we took the chances we had at the beginning with Gerard (Deulofeu) then maybe the game would have been different but we will never know. We will keep going and working hard but in the end, we got the point."
The big talking point leading up to kick off was the fact that Gracia made six changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Chelsea in the Premier League three days prior, however Gracia went on to defend his squad selection and praise his side for their efforts.
He added: "We have spoken about that [rotation] many times. All of my players are working really well. All of them when they have the chance to play well they have taken their chances. I am happy with all of them because we are keeping our level thanks to all of them, not only 11 players from the beginning."
🗣 | “Now you see the result you can say that [I should not have made the changes], but I don't agree.”#watfordfc Head Coach Javi Gracia defended his team selection after the Hornets drew with @NUFC.— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) December 29, 2018
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It wasn't the result Gracia would've been hoping for, however Watford will soon get their chance to redeem themselves and get back to winning ways as they prepare to travel to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth on Wednesday night.
Source : 90min