Deulofeu has no issues with tough love from Watford boss Gracia

‘Sometimes he’s tough and aggressive, but it’s good because you can fall asleep on the pitch’: Gerard Deulofeu insists he has no issues with Watford boss Javier Gracia’s iron-fist approach

  • Gerard Deulofeu has got no problems with Javier Gracia’s tough-love approach
  • Deulofeu said he can be particularly hard on him but it’s his way of motivating
  • He said: ‘Sometimes Gracia is tough and aggressive, but it’s normal and I agree’ 
  • The winger scored his first goal of the season to help Watford beat Huddersfield
  • Saturday’s 3-0 victory secured the Hornets’ best-ever start to a top-flight season

Gerard Deulofeu has no problems with getting some tough love from Watford manager Javier Gracia as the former Barcelona winger looks to maintain his cutting edge on the pitch.

Deulofeu opened his Premier League account this campaign with a superb angled finish in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield, which saw the Hornets secure a best-ever start to a top-flight season which sees them seventh.

The 29-year-old had seen his return to action this season – following a foot injury – hampered by a hip problem, but now fully fit, his versatility offers Gracia greater options in attack.

Gerard Deulofeu has insisted he has no problems with getting tough love from Javier Gracia

Gerard Deulofeu has insisted he has no problems with getting tough love from Javier Gracia

Deulofeu, who joined the Hornets in a permanent move during the summer after a successful loan spell, is determined to continue his progress under the close eye of fellow Spaniard Gracia.

Speaking to The Offside Rule Exclusives, Deulofeu said: ‘(Gracia’s) a really good coach and also a good person.

‘He is really good at managing the team, but also if anything is wrong, he is aggressive, and he knows what we have to do in every moment.

‘He is tough in my case. He is always trying to get the best out of me, which is good because if not you will be asleep on the pitch and you go down.

Deulofeu scored his first Premier League goal this season in Saturday's win over Huddersfield

Deulofeu scored his first Premier League goal this season in Saturday’s win over Huddersfield

The Spaniard said Gracia can be aggressive and tough but does it to get the best out of him

The Spaniard said Gracia can be aggressive and tough but does it to get the best out of him

‘Sometimes he is tough and aggressive with me, but that’s normal and I agree with him.’

The winger added: ‘There are no individuals (in the squad). We are all together, training hard and keeping this level for Watford.’

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Deulofeu, born in Girona, Catalonia, came through the youth ranks at Barcelona, but despite making a first-team debut aged just 17, further first-team opportunities were then limited at the Nou Camp.

Loan spells at first Everton and then Sevilla followed, before a permanent switch to Goodison Park during June 2015.

However, Deulofeu again found his progress stall somewhat, and in January 2017, he moved to AC Milan until the end of the season.

Barcelona then exercised a buy-back clause to return him to the LaLiga club during the summer of 2017.

The move, though, did not work out, with the winger heading to England again in the 2018 January transfer window, before making the switch to Vicarage Road permanent last summer.

Deulofeu, though, does not want to reflect on what might have been with the Blaugrana, having once been heralded as the next big thing.

‘That was difficult – when I was young it was terrible, every day in the media you are the ‘new Messi’ – and that’s not good for a young player,’ he said.

‘I’m (a) former Barcelona player, but maybe my style is more similar style to one Real Madrid or Manchester City player.

He moved to Watford after two spells at Barcelona and doesn't want to return to that club again

He moved to Watford after two spells at Barcelona and doesn’t want to return to that club again

‘Yes, I didn’t take the chance of (staying at) Barcelona because playing there is so difficult and sometimes I didn’t have the chance, the confidence of Barcelona. But I’m here at Watford and I’m still young.’

Deulofeu is determined to look forward with the Hornets, who hope to make it three Premier League victories in a row at Newcastle on Saturday.

‘I said I will not come back to Barcelona. We tried two times and if on those two times it doesn’t work, I don’t want to try three times… it’s too hard,’ the winger added.

‘I’d been at Barcelona since I was nine years old, but sometimes you don’t feel it’s home. That’s why I don’t want to go back.

‘Now it’s one year since I left Barcelona, so it’s normal – I don’t want to be there.

‘My best football is in the Premier League and Watford put a lot of confidence in me.’

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