Watford manager Javi Gracia has admitted that the 3-3 draw against Bournemouth on Wednesday night could have ended in tears had it not been for the performance of keeper Ben Foster.
The Hornets stormed to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Troy Deeney's double, but were pegged back to 2-2 when Callum Wilson equalised in the 37th minute. Having taken the lead once again just a minute later, Gracia was left pulling his hair out as his side surrendered yet another lead to Ryan Fraser's 40th minute equaliser.
According to the Watford Observer, Gracia expressed his disappointment after the game, saying: “After scoring two goals I knew we needed to defend well because I was sure Bournemouth would create chances because they always do.
“In that moment we conceded two goals from two free kicks and it was difficult to accept. In the second half we tried to have more control, but first of all we have to defend the free kicks better because we conceded two goals from it.
“We had the chance to kill the game with more control. We didn’t do it.”
Watford came under a barrage of Bournemouth pressure in the second half as the home side looked to take the lead for the first time in the match. However, they found stern resistance in the form of Ben Foster.
Speaking about his goalkeeper's performance, Gracia revelled: “I think Ben Foster was very important in the second half for us.
“I call him Big Ben. When I arrived in England, I thought it was in London but now I know it’s in Watford. He’s playing very well and is very important.”
Whilst Troy Deeney accepted that Abdoulaye Doucouré was fortunate to escape a red card for his first-half challenge on Fraser, the Watford captain was adamant that Bournemouth's Dan Gosling should have seen red in the second half.
Speaking after the match he insisted: “Abdoulaye Doucoure probably did get lucky (not to be sent off), but you can’t tell me that their boy did not try to do Tom Cleverley.
“They know it. We know. But the referee bottled it on a few occasions today," he added, as reported by the Evening Express.
Up next for Watford is an away fixture against Woking in the FA Cup Third Round. After a hectic festive fixture list, Gracia will be looking to rest some of his key players for the games ahead.