Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure says Black Lives Matter must remain on agenda
"It is very important to stay focused on the mission we all have. Black, white, any of us we need to fight injustice and of course now we take the right way."
By Matt Ford
Last Updated: 25/06/20 6:23am
Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure believes we all have a responsibility to keep Black Lives Matter on the agenda and must act, insisting talking is not enough.
In a wide-ranging interview for Sky Sports News, Doucoure was full of praise for his fellow Premier League players who have come together in taking a knee before matches.
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The midfielder also commended Burnley captain Ben Mee's comments in the wake of the 'White Lives Matter Burnley' banner and says the perpetrators do not represent the town or club.
"A lot of players have talked before saying 'yeah you have had a lot of talking but not much acts', now is the moment to have acts as well as to have talking," Doucoure said.
"To keep the acts is the most important for everyone now. It is just not something we need to forget easily, to just bend the knee, to put on our t-shirts, Black Lives Matter, and one week after everyone forgets that.
"No, I think in this moment it is very important to stay focused on the mission we all have. Black, white, any of us we need to fight injustice and of course now we take the right way.
"I am very happy for all the players doing the Black Lives Matter bend the knee. We are all in the same boat."
Monday night's incident at the Etihad, where a plane carrying the message 'White Lives Matter Burnley' flew over the stadium moments after both sets of players had taken a knee, was met with widespread condemnation.
Sports figures including Sky Sports News' Mike Wedderburn and NBC's Robbie Earle have spoken passionately and emotively on the subject in recent days, as have other high-profile figures.
And with Watford travelling to Burnley on Thursday night, Doucoure reserved special praise for Mee, who delivered a powerful riposte moments after the final whistle on Monday.
"Of course, I saw the interview of Ben Mee," Doucoure said.
"I think it was incredible, I need to congratulate him for his answer.
"We know Burnley is out of this incident, we know how Burnley is, how the town is, so of course Burnley is not behind this.
"We support them and we are all together with them."
Does Doucoure's future lie away from Watford?
Doucoure has been enjoying playing in a more advanced role and, while admitting it is not his best position, insists he is happy to do whatever it takes to help Watford win.
But while Watford have not been able to hit the same heights as last season, where they were once in contention for a Europa League place, and made the FA Cup final, Doucoure is known to have admirers.
Addressing long-running speculation about his future at Vicarage Road and his well-known ambitions to play in the Champions League, Doucoure insists his focus is on Watford for now.
But he is also candid about his ambitions and perhaps unusually, the club are fully aware of his long-held dream of playing in Europe's premier competition.
So could the Frenchman's immediate future lie away from Watford and the Premier League?
"Of course, it is always in my head," Doucoure added when speaking about his ambition to play Champions League football.
"It is not something I will forget easily but my first mission is to play for Watford and to save the club in the Premier League. In the summer, we will see if I have interest or not, how the club want to deal with me as well.
"I think since the beginning when I first had some interest from clubs, I think the club spoke with me honestly and said 'yeah of course it is your dream and we are going to help you reach your ambition'.
"I am very happy to speak with the club about that, with the manager, with the owner of the club as well. It is something very open and I have no concerns about that.
"I think now with the lockdown, everyone has concerns about the summer break and about the transfer window.
"No one I think knows who we are going to play next year. But I feel like as a player, we just need to think about enjoying playing football."