Leeds United head coach Javi Gracia appears focussed on giving the supporters an FA Cup run this season.
Gracia’s previous experience with the competition has been mostly positive, as he guided Watford to an FA Cup final during the 2018/19 season. Watford did – admittedly – go on to be thrashed 6-0 at Wembley by Manchester City, but the fact they reached that stage at all is commendable.
Now, the 52-year-old seems determined to repeat the feat at current club Leeds as his side prepare for a cup clash against fellow Premier League side Fulham at Craven Cottage tomorrow.
Speaking to the media in his pre-match press conference today, Gracia reflected on his history with the competition, and discussed his expectations for Tuesday’s fixture.
“It’s something I tried to explain to our players, I have only one experience but that was something amazing for me and I would like to live it again,” Gracia said (per the Leeds United website).
“The experience I have in this cup is something unforgettable, we did it with Watford, that experience was really good for the players and the supporters as well.
“I would like to repeat it, we know it is not easy, there is many good teams and watching the next game, Fulham is playing a great season.
“They are well situated in the table in the Premier League and it will be a tough game, but we want to try and play our best football, we have a chance for sure.”
Gracia facing an unenviable balancing act
After victory in a vital clash against bottom of the table Southampton on Saturday, Gracia will understandably be keen to maintain positive momentum with another win ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea this weekend.
But while this is important, Gracia must remember where his utmost priority lies. Keeping Leeds United in the Premier League.
This was his remit upon arriving at the club, and it will no doubt be playing on his mind as this cup fixture approaches. An opportunity to rest specific first-team players must be finely balanced with fielding a squad who will be able to cope with a high-flying side like Fulham.