Watford supporting players over racism, says manager Javi Gracia
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 12/04/19 5:12pm
Watford head coach Javi Gracia said the club has spoken to players about racist abuse, offering support after players were targeted on social media.
Watford captain Troy Deeney revealed he has disabled comments on his Instagram account, while teammates Adrian Mariappa and Christian Kabasele said they had received racial abuse after Watford's 3-2 extra-time win over Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final.
Gracia, who gave his players three days off following that remarkable comeback win, said helping the players as best he can is all he can do.
"It's something all of us have to refuse to avoid," said Gracia. "We spoke with the players, they felt our support and it's all we can do in this moment, try to be together, to help them and nothing else.
"I can't understand how these things are happening, but I can't have control over these things.
"I try to have good behaviour because I know we are an example to other people.
"I try to be polite and respectful, but that's all we can do."
Watford's focus now returns to the Premier League, with Arsenal visiting Vicarage Road on Monday night, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
With six league games remaining and just one points separating the four teams between seventh and 10th, Gracia said his players' focus must not be affected by their upcoming cup final, but seemed confident in their ability to do that.
"If you have the players we have, it's easy because they know the next games are very important for us," said Gracia.
"We don't have one final, we have seven finals left to play. All of them are focused on the next game."
Watford are currently 10th, but with a game in hand over Everton and Leicester, Gracia knows the importance of making that count.
"The best news is we have to play one game more than others, not Wolves in this case," said Gracia.
"We have to take advantage of that chance, we are going to play four games at home and two away.
"In this moment I prefer to keep the same attitude we had all season, try to give importance to the next game, the next three points.
"Our final is to play against Arsenal, it's not in May, it's on Monday."
Against Arsenal, Gracia will go up against his former Real Sociedad teammate Unai Emery.
The two played together in the 1995/96 season for the Spanish side and Gracia said they have had a good relationship ever since, occasionally meeting for dinner in London.
Though Gracia felt their two teams played distinct styles of football, he had high praise for his fellow Spaniard: "Unai is one of the best coaches, not only in England, but in the world."