March 4, 2018 / 3:46 AM / 17 days ago

Soccer: Watford manager Gracia delighted with Deeney

(Reuters) - Watford manager Javi Gracia had nothing but praise for his captain Troy Deeney, who was often left out by the side’s last two managers but scored the winner for the second consecutive game on Saturday to help them cement their place in the top half of the Premier League.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Watford vs West Bromwich Albion - Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain - March 3, 2018 Watford manager Javi Gracia before the match Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Following his match-winner against Everton last week, Deeney stole the headlines again with another clinical finish after 77 minutes to give Watford a 1-0 home win over West Brom, inflicting more misery on their under-fire manager Alan Pardew. “I am very happy with him (Deeney),” Gracia said. “I don’t know what happened in the past and don’t want to know. “I see him every day and he is scoring important goals. He is important both on and off the pitch.”

Gracia is clearly enjoying life in the top flight after his side secured their third consecutive victory at Vicarage Road to ease relegation worries and give them a realistic chance of finishing in the top 10. “We have now got six important points and another clean sheet. All these things improve the manner of the team and we have more options to get victories,” he said. “If you can get points it is better for the confidence and to build up the team. I think it is better to work this way. We try to enjoy it and are getting better day by day.” Gracia must now prepare his side for two difficult away fixtures against Arsenal and Liverpool. “We have two tough games away and we needed points in the last two home games,” he said.

“I don’t know in the future what will happen but we are in a good moment and we try to continue this way.” Gracia had sympathy for Pardew, who faces a battle to keep his job at West Brom, saying: “I respect Alan Pardew a lot and my best wishes for him in the future.”

Editing by Clare Fallon

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