'Watford fans split on Javi Gracia's future'

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Watford ended their season with a 1-0 defeat at Premier League runners-up Manchester United.

Marcus Rashford’s first-half goal settled a tight match with Jose Mourinho’s side playing in second gear ahead of next week’s FA Cup final.

It means the Hornets finish 14th in the table with 41 points – eight points clear of the bottom three.

15th May 2018

Has this season been a success?

Remaining in the top flight still has to be seen as a qualified success for Watford, although there will inevitably be some disappointment with the way the club’s form tailed off after such a strong start.

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The early season form under Marco Silva was excellent but Watford lost their way before Christmas and failed to regain any consistency. Ultimately their start was vital because if they had stuttered in the opening months the side could have been in a major struggle to avoid relegation.

Should Javi Gracia stay in charge next season?

I think he deserves to start next season in charge although the fans will be split on the Spaniard’s future. He did an unspectacular job after replacing Marco Silva in January although he has guided the team to safety which was always the main priority.

Their away form under Gracia has been terrible and has to be a concern although there were some strong home performances, including the 4-1 thrashing of Chelsea.

Ultimately, Gracia had to manage mostly without key players such as Nathaniel Chalobah and loan signing Gerard Deulofeu due to injury and their availability would have offered him a major boost.

Whether Gracia is given the chance to start next season is still uncertain, with the club’s track record of ruthlessly replacing head coaches, but I think he needs to be judged over a longer period of time.

What should be the club's priority in the transfer market this summer?

There is no question Watford need to focus on improving their attack. The Hornets failed to score in their last eight away league matches and the goals dried up significantly in the second half of the season.

Troy Deeney is not the player of a couple of seasons ago, Andre Gray has been a big disappointment and Richarlison has failed to score since November. This outlines the problems facing the club and Watford badly need to add a goal threat to the club next season otherwise it will be an uphill battle to stay in the top flight.

READ MORE: Premier League players outs of contract this summer

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What do you want to aim for next season?

Staying in the Premier League should not be taken for granted and this has to be the main priority again next season.

But an extended run in the FA Cup or League Cup should also be a target. Too often the club has not focused on the cup competitions, with their run to the FA Cup semi-final a few years ago a rarity.

Watford have had ample opportunity to focus on these competitions in recent years and this should be the aim because the last few seasons have petered out with little to play for during the run-in.

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