Watford supporting players over racism, says manager Javi Gracia

Tom Cleverley Watford Premier League

Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also came close at the other end but Arsenal were forced to hang on in the closing stages with Watford throwing men forward. We spoke about football here, English football and their experience because they were here six months before us.

Gracia, who gave his players three days off following that remarkable comeback win, said helping the players as best he can is all he can do.

"I can't understand how these things are happening, but I can't have control over these things".

"It was not easy for him after he signed [for Juventus] to finish thinking about his future, but his focus is to help us and his attitude has been incredible towards each training session".

"I try to be polite and respectful, but that's all we can do".

The Gunners take on Watford on Monday night in the Premier League, as Arsenal look to go level on points with Chelsea in the race for the top four, but if it wasn't for Gracia's advice, Emery may not have been in the dugout at all.

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The Gunners are in the thick of a four-way battle for two Champions League qualification spots in the Premier League and have one foot in the Europa League semi-finals after earning a 2-0 quarter-final first leg win over Napoli on Thursday.

"If you have the players we have, it's easy because they know the next games are very important for us", said Gracia. "All of them are focused on the next game".

"We talked about Eden Hazard last week being one of the best players in the world, Arsenal are nowhere near that".

"Our final is to play against Arsenal, it's not in May, it's on Monday".

Watford train next door to Arsenal's London Colney headquarters and the proximity of the two teams has helped Emery and Gracia maintain their friendship this season.

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