Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gracia: City Are among the Best in Europe but We Can Spring a Surprise

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gracia: City Are among the Best in Europe but We Can Spring a Surprise

Article excerpt

Byline: WATFORD v MAN CITY (8pm, Vicarage Road, BT Sport 1) Giuseppe Muro

WATFORD have not enjoyed playing Pep Guardiola's Manchester City at Vicarage Road, but Javi Gracia insists the Hornets can cause a major upset and topple the unbeaten leaders tonight.

City have won 5-0 and 6-0 on their last two trips to Hertfordshire and while Gracia believes they are the best side in Europe, he thinks the story can be different this evening.

Chelsea and Tottenham have come unstuck at Vicarage Road since Gracia took over and the Spaniard will set his team up to make life uncomfortable for the champions.

"I enjoy it a lot playing against teams like City, like Liverpool," said Gracia.

"All the games you have to prepare in a different way. It is a very big challenge playing against the best players, it is very demanding.

"When you play against a big team it is something similar, but all the teams are different and have different qualities.

"You have to be at a good level to play against them. It is good for me and good for players because these games help us to grow."

Gracia and Guardiola never met on the touchline in Spain and the former is relishing a chance to lock horns with his compatriot when they meet for the first time tonight.

The Watford head coach guided Malaga to a shock 1-0 win against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in 2015 after Luis Enrique had taken over from Guardiola and is out to pull off another shock.

"Everybody knows City are the leader, the best team in England and probably the best in Europe as well," he said. "It will be a very demanding game, but we have our options, we are going to try it and we know playing at home we are able to beat all the teams."

Watford go into the game having won just one of their last five matches and with just one goal in the last 370 minutes of football. …

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