Javi Gracia admitted it was hard to explain Watford’s defeat to Manchester United on Saturday given the way they largely dominated proceedings at Old Trafford.
United, who named Ole Gunnar Solskjaer their permanent manager on Thursday, ended the week in fitting fashion with a 2-1 victory that lifts them into fourth place in the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored in each half before Abdoulaye Doucoure netted a 90th-minute consolation for Watford, who had 20 shots to United’s eight, two more corners, eight more crosses from open play and a better passing accuracy.
Head coach Gracia was disappointed to see his side punished for a lack of ruthlessness after dominating their hosts.
“It’s difficult to explain because I think we had a good performance,” he said. “It’s true it wasn’t enough to get points but I’m happy with the performance.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) March 30, 2019
“We need to finish better, we need to improve in the last metres, but we created chances, we had more shots, more shots on target, more corner kicks, we dominated, played a lot of time in the opposition half, but the first goal was a counter-attack, the second goal was in a moment we felt we were playing well, and when you don’t score against these teams with high quality, you know you can lose in any moment.
“In the last part of the first half, United created some counter-attacks and it was a moment the game was open, and it wasn’t good for us, but we took control again in the second half and I’m very proud of my players, but some little details sometimes mean you don’t get points.
“I think we took risks to play. We tried to dominate, to play offensively. The players believed from the beginning until the end. But, after that, you have to show in the last metres a little more aggression and to be more efficient. But the rest of the performance was good.
“We have to make a step forward if we want to get points against these teams. I don’t know when but I’m sure we will be able to get it. I have that feeling when I see my players training, with their ambition, their commitment. I can feel it. But in games, we have to show it.”
Despite the frustration of the defeat, Gracia took time at the end of his news conference to wish a happy Mother’s Day, adding: “I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all the mums.
“Have a nice day, especially my mum!”
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