Watford v Brighton: Our tough pre-season was perfect for us, says Javi Gracia

Javi Gracia
Javi Gracia

Watford manager Javi Gracia believes tough pre-season fixtures against quality opposition has prepared them well for the Premier League opener at home to Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow.

Watford were beaten by Champions League semi-finalists Ajax in their first friendly but they went on to topple German and Spanish top-flight opposition in Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad, either side of victory at Queens Park Rangers.

Watford have also improved their squad with the summer signings of winger Ismaïla Sarr striker Danny Welbeck, defender Craig Dawson from West Brom, 18-year-old Brazilian striker Joao Pedro from Fluminese.

Of club record signing, Sarr, Watford striker Troy Deeney said, ““He looks direct, really quick and that’s going to give a different dimension to our attack,” said the club captain of the 21-yer-old. “He’s a natural winger and that will always be great for someone like me who thrives off crosses.”

Gracia, who led Watford to the final of the FA cup last season, said:“We started from July 1 and from that moment the period we trained at the training ground and the week we were in Austria.

“I’m really pleased with all the different moments. The games were good for us against very good teams, a high level – Ajax, Leverkusen, Real Sociedad and even QPR – all of them were tough games and I prefer to play against these teams. It was good for us to have these experiences and now I think we are ready to compete.”

Gerard Deulofeu is expected to be fit despite a muscle problem that has hindered his pre-season.