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Sunday 17
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Watford

Gracia ready for returning ex-Hornets

9th February 2019, 12:02 by Nick Harris

Watford will be ready for whatever starting line-up Everton choose for their meeting on Saturday, according to boss Javi Gracia.

Everton boss Marco Silva made five changes and used a different formation for Wednesday's 2-0 home loss to Manchester City.

The players dropping to the bench included former Watford forward Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who have scored 10 and nine Premier League goals respectively this season.

Watford manager Gracia said ahead of Saturday's contest, which will see his predecessor Silva return to Vicarage Road for the first time since they sacked him last season: "I think they manage their squad as they want, as they think is better for them.

"In this case (on Wednesday) they changed some players. We know there will be three, four players maybe different than in that game. But we are ready to compete."

Richarlison switched from Watford to Everton last summer having scored five goals during the 2017/18 campaign, each of which came before the Hornets' January change in management from the sacked Silva to Gracia.

This term, as well as 11 club goals in all competitions, the 21-year-old has also netted three times for Brazil.

Gracia, speaking at a press conference reported on Watford's official website, said: "I have the same opinion now as last season - in my opinion he is a very good player and a very good person as well.

"He changed (clubs) at the end of last season and now he is a rival for us, but I always wish him the best.

"He is playing well, he is scoring goals. He played in two different positions, as a striker as well as a left winger. I think always he has kept a very good level."

Ninth-placed Everton, who are one spot and one point worse off than Watford, have lost four of their last five games in all competitions and eight of their last 13 league matches.

When asked if it was a good time to be facing the Merseyside outfit, Gracia said: "I don't like to look too much at the past or the stats in the past, because in every game you can change the stats.

"Always it's a good chance - I think it is good for us because (we are) playing at home. In the last games we have played a lot of games away and in this case it will be different.

"We need to feel the support of our fans, playing at home - I think it will be good for the spirit and for the ambition of the players in this game."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.

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