Gracia hails Deulofeu impact

Gerard Deulofeu earned high praise from Watford head coach Javi Gracia after scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory at already relegated Huddersfield Town.

Spain international forward Deulofeu, who also netted twice on his last outing against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final, made the difference in West Yorkshire as the Hornets moved back up to seventh place in the Premier League table.

And Gracia was full of praise for his player, who he felt contributed greatly to the overall effort of his side at the John Smith's Stadium.

He told his club's official website: "He's scoring important goals, very good goals. All goals are good for me, but in this moment Gerard is scoring and living an important moment for him and the team.

"Even when he didn't score, he was showing a good commitment for the club and trying to help the team.

"Speaking about Gerard, he has played in different positions, in different shapes and is an important player for us.

"He gets recognition when he scores goals, but in my opinion he is always doing a good job for the team."

Watford are back in action on Tuesday evening when they play host to Southampton, with the two sides having drawn 1-1 on the South Coast earlier this season.

The Hornets are 21/20 to win the game, with a 1-1 draw priced at 6/1.

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‘Collective’ effort pleases Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino hailed his squad after they overcame injury worries to push aside relegated Huddersfield 4-0 at the Tottenham Stadium.

Lucas Moura scored a brilliant hat-trick as Spurs made it three wins from three games in their new home, leapfrogging Chelsea to retake third spot in the Premier League as they did.

With Harry Kane an Dele Alli ruled out having sustained injuries in the midweek Champions League win over Manchester City, Pochettino turned to Moura and Fernando Llorente to spearhead his attack.

The home side deservedly went ahead when Victor Wanyama went around Ben Hamer and slotted home midway through the first half, with Moura adding their second just two minutes later as he rifled a low shot into the net.

The Brazilian then scored two quick goals late on to round off a pleasing afternoon for Pochettino.

With one eye firmly on Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg, Spurs made seven changes to the starting side that beat City 1-0 in the first leg.

"I am so pleased. Football is about the squad, the collective. Of course we had some injuries after Manchester City like Alli and Kane, and we were forced to make changes and we needed to provide fresh legs and it's good because we have a tough period ahead and the performance was very professional," the manager declared.

"It's always important to open the game and score in the first half to give belief and confidence. After a few minutes we score the second goal and lift the stadium and fans – it's fantastic to play here and gives the players fantastic energy and belief."

Spurs are 9/1 to win at the Etihad Stadium in midweek, with Man City 2/7 for the second leg. Pochettino's team are 6/5 to qualify for the semi-finals.

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Poch doubtful over Kane return

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted it is highly unlikely that Tottenham's star striker Harry Kane will play again this season, having sustained an ankle ligament injury.

The 25-year-old England captain suffered a 'significant lateral ligament injury to his left ankle' during the 1-0 midweek Champions League win over Manchester City, with head coach Pochettino accepting that he may well have lost his main source of goals for the remainder of the campaign.

He told reporters ahead of Saturday lunchtime visit from already relegated Huddersfield Town: "He feels sad and disappointed like everyone at the club. It is a tough moment for him, the team and us.

"We need to assess him every day, but we need to have proper answers to see when he possibly can start training with the team – today it is impossible to give a date.

"He suffered a similar injury last time against Manchester United and that took five weeks. We need to assess him, but he's not in a great place.

"Next week we are going to see with the specialist. We are going to do everything to recover him as soon as possible, but there is only five weeks of the season to recover."

Midfielder Dele Alli is almost certain to miss the weekend action as well, having suffered a break in his left hand against the Citizens.

Pochettino added: "He broke his hand and we need to assess and see if he can be involved tomorrow. I am not optimistic, but we'll see – we cannot say today if he is going to be available in the squad tomorrow."

Spurs are 13/2 to defeat the Terriers 2-0, 7/1 to win by a 3-0 scoreline and 8/11 to keep a clean sheet.

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Vardy earns Rodgers praise

Jamie Vardy is 'one of the best around' according to Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.

The Foxes frontman scored a second-half brace on Saturday as they won 4-1 at relegated Huddersfield Town.

The result sees Leicester climb from ninth to seventh, level on points with Wolves having played a game more. Rodgers has now won four of his five games in charge since arriving from Celtic in February to succeed Claude Puel.

Youri Tielemans gave Leicester the advantage at half-time before Vardy doubled the visitors' advantage with his 14th league goal of the season not long after the break.

Aaron Mooy's penalty cut the deficit but Vardy restored the two-goal cushion with a spot-kick of his own before James Maddison round things off.

The former England forward Vardy is pleasing his new club boss.

"We play a very aggressive game, an attacking game that suits offensive players and obviously he's one of the best around," said Rodgers of Vardy.

"It's great to have someone right up there who does not just score the goals but who sets up our press. He works very hard and he's a joy to work with."

Leicester's upturn in form under Rodgers ensure they maintain hopes of possible Europa League qualification and that is something the former Liverpool boss is happy to target.

"The idea is to finish as high as we can. You want to be in Europe if you can. We'll see if we can find a different way to get in there," said Rodgers.

"If it's this season great. If not, throughout my contract here that was the aim. So far the boys have been absolutely first class."

Leicester are 7/10 to win their next game at home to Newcastle on Friday evening. The Magpies are 17/4 with the draw priced at 5/2.

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Rodgers keen to keep Tielemans

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is interested in making on-loan midfielder Youri Tielemans' move to the Foxes permanent at the end of this season.

The 21-year-old Belgian arrived at the King Power Stadium from Monaco in January on a deal until the end of the season and has adapted well to life in the Premier League.

Rodgers says "there will be discussions between the clubs" about a permanent transfer and has described Tielemans as a "wonderful talent".

Manchester United have been linked with a move for the former Anderlecht player, but Tielemans insists he would be happy to extend his stay with the Foxes.

"I don't know what is going to happen this summer," he said. "But I feel really good here. We are now in April and we will see over the next months.

"At Leicester, I can be part of something great. They will have a new training ground, the stadium will be much better than it is now with more fans coming over."

Tielemans has also praised Rodgers, saying of the former Liverpool and Celtic boss: "He is a really open-minded manager; you can talk to him, whatever question you may have, you can ask him.

"And that's really positive for us because a lot of players were confused about what was going on [under the previous manager Claude Puel].

"Everything is clear now. He wants to play offensive and attacking."

Leicester can be backed at 8/11 to beat rock-bottom Huddersfield Town on Saturday while they are 5/4 to keep a clean sheet against the Terriers.

Terriers told to learn lessons

Huddersfield Town head coach Jan Siewert says his club simply have to learn the lessons of having suffered relegation from the Premier League with six games still to play.

The Terriers were beaten 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon, with wins for both Burnley and Southampton meaning that Town's demotion was confirmed before the end of March.

That left Siewert already looking ahead to the challenge of rebuilding, with the German having lost eight of the nine games he has taken charge of.

He told reporters: "For me in life there is failure and success and it belongs together, as a club we have to learn from the failures. We've got to go through all the details and come back strong.

"I don't want to talk about those failures publicly, but it is important to learn as a club and this club is willing to do it."

Meanwhile, Town skipper Christopher Schindler urged his side to fight hard in the closing weeks of the season, to ensure that the mood in the camp is positive for their return to the Championship.

He added: "I'm empty at the moment. If we see the season retrospectively at the front and back, we were not good enough to stay in the best league in the world.

"Sometimes we have to accept it was not good enough. We have to work as hard as we can and make the last weeks as positive as possible, so we can use this as preparation for next season."

Huddersfield are back in action next Saturday when they play host to Leicester City, with Town 15/4 to win the game and 13/5 to earn a draw.

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Zaha on course to face Town

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is optimistic that Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Wilfried Zaha will be able to feature in Saturday's game against Huddersfield Town.

Both players were able to train on Friday after withdrawing from international duty earlier this month – Wan-Bissaka from England Under-21s while Zaha sat out Ivory Coast's games against Rwanda and Liberia.

Hodgson said: "They've both been nursing injuries. However, they were out in training this morning, so if nothing happens in terms of reaction overnight, I'm hoping they will be fit to play but it is touch and go."

Bakary Sako has returned to training this week so the only player currently in the treatment room is long-term injury victim Mamadou Sakho.

Meanwhile, Hodgson is desperate to enjoy some success at Selhurst Park where his side have only won three of their 15 home top-flight games this season.

The former England and Liverpool manager added: "It's very important because it's one of four home games and we haven't got enough points yet to ensure we're safe from relegation.

“Home games are the games one is normally expected to do well in. We still don't think winning away is our best chance at getting points, our best chance is at home because our fans give us such an advantage."

Huddersfield conceded three goals in the last 15 minutes in their last game a fortnight ago – a 4-3 defeat at West Ham United. The Terriers, who could be relegated this weekend, are 8/1 to beat Crystal Palace while Zaha is 9/2 to be the first goalscorer in Saturday's encounter.

Siewert ignores relegation talk

Huddersfield Town head coach Jan Siewert has refused to allow the impending confirmation of relegation to get in the way of his preparations for the weekend action.

Should the Terriers lose at Crystal Palace on Saturday, wins for both Southampton and Burnley would mean that Town were relegated after two seasons in the Premier League.

However, Siewert says his only focus will be on trying to get something from the game at Selhurst Park, with the Eagles having won the meeting of the two sides in West Yorkshire earlier on this season by a 1-0 scoreline.

The German told reporters: "I'm not thinking about it (relegation). I don't think like this – I have a game and I will try to win the game.

"I only focus on this game. I don't care what happens in other matches."

The Terriers are priced at 7/1 to defeat Palace on Saturday, with the draw available at 16/5, while a goalless final scoreline is a 15/2 shot.

Meanwhile, Siewert also admitted that he is already thinking ahead to next season, as he simply has to start planning for life back in the second tier of English football.

He added: "I have said once before, I am always focusing on the future because you have to think long-term as a manager. I am always making decisions on players."

Perhaps uppermost in Siewert's thoughts will be trying to bring in a proven goalscorer, with no Town player having scored more than three times in the Premier League so far this season.

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Billing ready for new challenge

Philip Billing has admitted that he is keen to leave Huddersfield Town this summer as it is time for a new challenge.

The 22-year-old Dane has featured in 81 league games for the Terriers since making his debut for the club in April 2014.

He helped Town secure promotion from the Championship via the play-offs in the 2016/17 campaign and to safety in their first season in the Premier League.

However, this season has been dreadful and Town are rooted to the foot of the table and all but certain to be relegated.

Billing said: "I have been in Huddersfield for a long time, so this summer it is time to try a new challenge.

"I'll try something new. The Premier League is great and I love the English football culture. I know there is interest from others in the UK and abroad."

Billing has hinted that he may not play much in the closing two months of the campaign, adding: "I think the coach is betting on those who will continue to play in the Championship next season."

Earlier in the week, goalkeeper Jonas Lossl also suggested he was keen to leave the John Smith's Stadium at the end of this season.

Huddersfield are 13/2 to win their next match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on 30th March and 14/1 to score a penalty in the encounter.

They lost their last game 4-3 at West Ham United on Saturday despite leading 3-1 at one stage.

Hammers aim for top seven

Javier Hernandez says that West Ham have the top seven firmly in their sights after coming from behind to beat Huddersfield 4-3.

The Terriers, bottom of the Premier League table and well adrift of safety had only scored 15 goals in 30 league games before their trip to the London Stadium.

However, after 65 minutes they were leading 3-1, goals from Juninho Bacuna and a double from Karlam Grant.

They were well on course for their first away win since November but the Hammers fought back in a thrilling game.

Mark Noble gave them an early lead with a penalty but they were trailing 3-1 when Angelo Ogbonna headed a second and then two late goals from Hernandez turned the game around.

The win means that West Ham are ninth in the table but are just two points off Wolves who are seventh.

It means the Hammers have plenty to aim for towards the end of the season according to Hernandez.

He said: "Against Cardiff we didn't play so well but we did it in the second half today. The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world so every game home or away is always tough.

"I always try to do my best, to give my best performances for this club, hopefully we can finish in the top seven."

In other games on Saturday Leicester won 2-1 at Burnley despite playing for most of the game with 10 men, Harry Maguire getting sent off in just the fourth minute.

It finished all square at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth and Newcastle drawing 2-2 though the visitors had to wait until almost the last kick of the game to equalise, Matt Ritchie scoring against his old club to earn a point for Rafa Benitez's side.

West Ham are at home to Everton after the international break and are 11/8 for the win with the Toffees 2/1 and the draw 9/4. The Hammers are 17/2 to win the game 1-0.

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