Relive Southampton v Watford: Javi Gracia’s reign begins with defeat on south coast, as Hornet exit FA Cup
Javi Gracia’s Watford reign starts with FA Cup exit at Southampton
Javi Gracia says he has already seen a reaction from Watford players in wake of Southampton defeat
Anger at Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas from Watford fans defended by captain Ben Watson
Southampton v Watford ratings: Few positives from opening game of Javi Gracia reign
Jack Stephens marked his 24th birthday with his first goal for Southampton as they progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 1-0 home win over Watford.
Injury-hit Watford struggled to create but nearly forced a replay, Christian Kabasele heading wide in added time.
It was an afternoon of disgruntlement in the stands. While a portion of Southampton’s supporters maintained their burgeoning FA Cup tradition of voicing disapproval with Mauricio Pellegrino’s substitutions, jeering when the Argentinian replaced Sofiane Boufal with Maya Yoshida in the second half, that burst of dissent felt mild in comparison to the moment when Christian Kabasele and José Holebas had to be pulled away from a disagreement with a few Watfordfans after an otherwise forgettable game.
The general sense of malaise was compounded here by conceding inside four minutes and, while there was mostly sarcasm in the fans’ appraisal of a team that have now lost nine out of their last 13 matches, the scenes on the final whistle were angry.
More than one person mentioned yesterday that I usually find something positive to say about games. Sadly, I cannot find anything good to say about that game either on or off the pitch.
I felt sorry for Gracia after his first game in charge. A ridiculous number of injuries and a fan base that appear to be turning against the players with every game. The new-manager bounce we so badly wanted and needed had the complete opposite effect and as supporters we have ourselves to blame too, we weren’t at the races.