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Gracia hopes FA Cup final is not Gomes' last game

By Opta
Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes plans to retire after the FA Cup final

London, May 16: Watford head coach Javi Gracia wants goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes to reconsider his plans to retire after the FA Cup final.

In March, Gomes said in an interview on Watford's website he was "99 per cent sure" 2018-19 would be his last season.

Gomes therefore has the chance to go out on a high as Watford take on Manchester City on Saturday (May 18) at Wembley, looking to stop Pep Guardiola's side from completing an unprecedented domestic treble.

The 38-year-old has played all five games of Watford's run to the final and fellow Hornets keeper Ben Foster has claimed he would "absolutely refuse" to play if selected instead of the Brazilian.

Gracia told a news conference he is yet to decide who will take the gloves against the Premier League champions, but he wants Gomes to play on for another season regardless.

"First of all, I don't know if it will be the last game (for Gomes)," said Gracia. "I would like to speak with him and the club and see if he is able to carry on next season. We have to speak about that."

When asked whether Gomes will play in the final, Gracia said: "I don't like to speak about it. I only focus on the game and try to choose the best keeper for the game, after that we will see what happens in the future."

Despite being unwilling to show his hand over his goalkeeper choice, Gracia confirmed he has already picked his starting line-up for Saturday's showpiece.

"I have decided," said Gracia. "You can always change something when you are preparing for the game but changing one player at the end of the week doesn't change my plan.

"I trust all of them. I was thinking many days ago about how best to defend, how best to attack and what players are better to do that. We have different options and I would like all of them to play in the final. It is not possible."

Watford are in the final for the first time since 1984 and the occasion will be a family affair for Gracia.

"My mum is coming for the final," he added. "I haven't see her for a long time, maybe one year. It's special.

"I am just so proud for the club to be in this final, so proud to be at this club and so proud for the players. I feel very proud of my team. This season has been amazing. I said in other comments that the success of this season doesn't depend on the final result.

"My opinion is that my players deserve recognition as they have done many things well. It is only one step as we want to be more ambitious. It is not enough. We want to improve."

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Story first published: Thursday, May 16, 2019, 0:20 [IST]
Other articles published on May 16, 2019
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