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“The press thought I'd be the first to get sacked"

Javi Gracia is the story of the Premier League so far after starting the season with three straight wins, only equalled by Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea.

Javi Gracia saluda a la grada durante el partido ante el Crystal Palace.

Your Watford side has taken the Premier League by storm at the start of the season with three wins out of three, only equalled by Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea. How does it feel at the top of the table?

I'm not complaining, to be honest. And even less so with the start to the season we've had... everything looks good.

Only a few weeks ago the English press had you down as relegation candidates.

They had me down as the first sacking among the twenty Premier League managers, but we've already managed to turn that prediciton on its head a little. 

And you've done it losing big players to injury

Okaka had surgery and is currently recovering. He'll get some playing time soon. Gerard Deulofeu went on holiday with a foot injury and has had different treatments. When he came back he was okay, but it's still giving him some problems. Tom Cleverley is still sidelined after surgey on his Achilles. 

You arrived halfway through last season after Marco Silva left and had to take over and manage the squad as you saw best. This year, you've started off in control after a pre-season.

When we arrived in England in January, I had 13 injuries, which was crazy. The time that we've been together plus pre-season has helped us to get to know each other and prepare. Last year we had to take it week by week in an attempt to halt a negative dynamic, particulary in a situation with lots of instability and very few players available.  

You also lost one of your best players, Richarlison, who went to Everton and is currently top scorer in the Premier League, as well as being called up for Brazil. 

It was the biggest deal in the club's history. Logically, as the coach and as someone in charge of the day-to-day issues, my obligation is to make my opinion known and say what I think the team needs. But then there is another part, as in every club, whether you're manager or not, when there are factors determined by the financial side.  

What's your aim this season? Are expectations higher after the fine start you've had?

It was the same when I came here: we have to make sure Watford are competetive in the Premier League, and are consistent every year and gradually aspire to achieve more. 

Have you managed to solve the big mystery: Why do English teams continue to struggle in Europe?

I don't know; I think it's a question of time. At some point it will all come together because the quality is there, with more than one team, for them to have success in the future.  

How's life on the outskirts of London? Do you live near the training ground?

Yes, I finally found a house near here, ten or fiften minutes from Watford's training ground. It's a residential housing complex on the outskirts, around twenty kilometres north of central London. I'm happy here. 

Have you found a local pub or have you not yet got into the swing of this British tradition?

No, not yet (laughs). I'm still working office hours and at the time I would be in the pub I'm still in the office, working at the club.

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