Manager Javi Gracia would have liked Watford to beat Ajax in Thursday’s pre-season friendly but was upbeat about their performance in defeat. The Hornets took on the Champions League semi-finalist in Austria but left on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.
A first-half-penalty from Andre Gray gave the Hornets a half-time lead but the Amsterdam giants hit back in the 52nd minute through Donny van de Beek. It looked as though the spoils would be shared until 18-year-old Jurrien Timber headed home the winner with one minute left on the watch.
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While results in pre-season often have no bearing on how a campaign unfolds, winning is a good habit to have but the boss has come away for the contest feeling positive. “Always the results matter but it’s not the most important thing in this moment,” said Gracia.
“It is important we played well, and it was unlucky we conceded the goal in the last minute. “But I’m quite happy with the performance. We played with two different XIs and they did well after some hard work in the last three days. We need to improve many things, but I am happy with this performance.” Watford kick off their Premier League season against Brighton on August 10 and will be looking for another solid campaign after finishing 11th in 2018-19.