Gracia slams suggestions of dirty tricks

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Watford head coach Javi Gracia has denied using underhand tactics to keep Crystal Palace danger man Wilfried Zaha quiet in the past.

Watford head coach Javi Gracia has denied using underhand tactics to keep Crystal Palace danger man Wilfried Zaha quiet in the past.

The Hornets host the Eagles on Saturday looking to secure a trip to Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals and are well aware of the strengths of their opponents.

Watford have already done the double over Roy Hodgson’s side and edged a feisty Premier League encounter 2-1 at Vicarage Road back in August last year when Zaha was on the wrong end of a raking challenge from behind by Etienne Capoue.

After the match, Watford captain Troy Deeney said the players “take it in turns” to rough up the Ivory Coast star in order to avoid getting a red card but Gracia has denied ordering his players to take such a cynical approach.

“I don’t use that tactic.

I don’t use it,” the Watford boss said when asked about Deeney’s comments.

“When we prepare the games, we are always thinking about playing well and trying to beat the other team, not thinking only about one player.

“I think it is something collective.

We have to be ready to compete this way, not only thinking about Zaha or other players.”

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