Gracia hopes for double boost

Watford head coach Javi Gracia hopes to have both Jose Holebas and Gerard Deulofeu available for the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

The Hornets are set to appeal against the red card shown to Holebas during the 4-1 Premier League loss at home to West Ham on Sunday, with Gracia feeling his defender had been hard done by in being dismissed for a foul on Michail Antonio.

The Spaniard told his club's official website: "I only say I can't believe a player will miss the final for that play. For that contact, I can't believe it.

"Maybe it was a light foul, maybe a soft foul, but I can't agree with that decision. It's difficult to accept knowing you have an important game the next week."

Meanwhile, Gracia was calm about having had to substitute goalscorer Deulofeu just before the hour mark, insisting that the move was merely precautionary.

He added: "I think it's a little problem. He had similar problems during the week and I think he will be ready for the final."

The loss to the Hammers left Watford in 11th place in the final Premier League standings, with the Irons taking the final top-half spot as a result of their victory at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets move on to prepare for the task of trying to defeat Manchester City in the FA Cup final, with the Citizens having already won the Carabao Cup and the Premier League this season.

Watford can be backed at 7/1 to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history, with Gracia's side 25/1 to win 1-0 in normal time and 50/1 to triumph after extra-time.

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Pellegrini wants Europe next

Manuel Pellegrini wants West Ham to challenge for Europe next season.

Despite inflicting a first defeat on Tottenham in their new home last weekend, finishing seventh appears beyond the Hammers this term.

Pellegrini wants to target a top-ten finish this season and he'll aim to build on that next season.

Pellegrini has never failed to qualify for European competition during his time managing in Europe, having achieved it with Villarreal and Malaga as well as Real Madrid and Manchester City.

Following last season's relegation battle, he says it's clear West Ham have taken a big stride forward this season.

West Ham currently occupy 11th spot of Saturday's visit of Southampton, four points behind Watford who they face on the last day of the season.

"It's very important," he said. "It will be better for the club because if you compare it with last season, you have improved.

"I have enjoyed my first season here very much. I came to a big club and the Premier League is the best in the world so to return here, I am happy.

"But I also want to do better. This is my first time in Europe that I have not qualified for European competitions so I hope next season we will do it.

"Realistically, when you have 60,000 people behind you, this is a big club. Maybe you cannot compete with other clubs with money, but there are other ways to reduce the distance."

West Ham are 6/5 to defeat Southampton, with Saints 21/10 and the draw priced at 5/2 for the London Stadium clash.

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Foster maintains league focus

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster insists his side will be giving their all in their final two Premier League games to try and beat their competition to seventh place.

The Hornets already have an FA Cup final date with Manchester City to look forward to to round off their campaign, but Foster says that league matters have to be taken care of first.

A 2-1 home loss to Wolves last weekend saw Watford drop to tenth place in the table, four points behind the men from Molineux.

However, Foster says that seventh place is still the target, with his team facing Chelsea and West Ham in their final two league games of the season.

He told the Watford Observer: "It was obviously hugely disappointing to lose the game in the way that we did. It was a big opportunity to steal a march on everyone and try and claim that seventh position.

"But we have a couple of games left (in the league). They are difficult fixtures, but we will give it all we have got. There is still lots to play for, nobody will be taking their foot off the gas.

"We have an FA Cup final in three weeks' time and whatever happens between now and then, it has still been a successful season."

Watford head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday and are 15/4 to gain a draw against the Blues, with a 1-1 final scoreline available at 9/1.

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Targett heaps praise on Hasenhuttl

Southampton defender Matt Targett has hailed the impact made by head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl since he took charge of the Saints in December.

The Austrian has guided the South Coast outfit to Premier League safety, having overseen eight wins and seven draws among the 23 games he has been at the helm for.

And Targett, who scored his first goal for the club in the 3-3 draw with Bournemouth, is clear that Hasenhuttl should be taking much of the credit for the Saints pulling them away from relegation trouble.

He told the Daily Echo: "His impact since he came in has been incredible. He has worked us so hard and we have reaped the rewards of it.

"Every player has bought into his style of play, so it's a credit to us and a massive credit to him. It was a fresh start."

Targett also challenged his team to make a strong finish to the campaign, with their final two games seeing them visit West Ham before playing host to Huddersfield Town on the final day of the season.

He added: "It's always nice to finish on a high. We will go for the three points against West Ham away and then try to finish on a high in front of our fans."

Having lost 2-1 at home to the Hammers earlier this season, Saints are 9/1 to suffer a 2-1 reverse at the London Stadium on Saturday, with a 1-1 draw priced at 13/2.

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Spurs suffer top-four blow

Tottenham's chances of finishing the season in the top-four of the Premier League suffered a blow after a first defeat at their new stadium.

West Ham won the London derby 1-0 thanks to a well taken goal from Michail Antonio and it leaves Spurs still needing points to be sure of Champions League football again next season.

Mauricio Pochettino's side stay third in the table but Chelsea and Arsenal are just three and four points behind respectively with a game in hand.

Pochettino admitted his side were in a fight for the top-four and conceded there were aspects of his side's play which weren't good enough against the Hammers.

He said after the game: "I think we did not manage the ball properly. It was a difficult game but in the second half we conceded a lot of space for them to counter attack. But we need to look forward. We cannot stop to think about what we did not do today.

"We can't dominate like against Brighton, first half was good but we lost the ball too easily in the second half. We arrived for this game in a different condition and that was an important factor in the second half. It was really tough today."

The result was however a boost for West Ham who recovered after a run of four games without a win. The three points means they remain 11th in the table, representing a reasonable first season in charge for Mauel Pellegrini.

Spurs meanwhile put their top-four ambitions on hold in midweek as they begin their quest for a place in this season's Champions League final.

They are back at home on Tuesday night when Ajax visit in the first-leg of their semi-final. Spurs are 6/5 to win the home leg with Ajax 21/10 and the draw is 12/5.

Spurs are 4/1 to win the Champions League while Barcelona, playing Liverpool in the other semi-final, are 6/4.

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Pochettino hopeful of Eriksen stay

Mauricio Pochettino remains hopeful that Tottenham will be able to agree a new contract with playmaker Christian Eriksen, who was the matchwinner against Brighton.

The 27-year-old Denmark international netted an 88th minute winner in the 1-0 home victory over the Seagulls, a result which gave a huge boost to Spurs' hopes of finishing in the top four of the Premier League.

Eriksen is out of contract at the end of next season and has been linked with interest from both Real Madrid and Barcelona, but Pochettino believes talks about the player's future have yet to really get started.

He said: "It is a situation that is a very special situation, Christian is a special person, I think we are all special, different and we need to understand that.

"The timing for him or for the club to be agreeing something is maybe different to another player.

"I hope and I wish Christian can be with us in the future, but I think Christian and us, we are so open to talk and we will see what happens.

"I think it is so close to the end of the season, a lot of time to talk after and I think the most important thing now is for all the players to be focused and try to achieve the things we want.

"We have a lot of big things ahead and we need to be focused only to try and recover, train and compete."

Next up for Spurs is a visit from West Ham on Saturday, with the hosts 2/5 to win the game, 8/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline and 11/8 to keep a clean sheet.

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Solskjaer issues United warning

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned his Manchester United side that they will have to lift their game significantly if they want to spring a Champions League shock on Barcelona.

The Red Devils laboured to a 2-1 Old Trafford Premier League victory over West Ham on Saturday, with both of their goals coming courtesy of penalties converted by Paul Pogba.

Next up is a Tuesday evening trip to the Nou Camp to take on Barca, who hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie, meaning that boss Solskjaer's charges will have to repeat their win at PSG in the last round to progress.

And the Norwegian is aware that his players will have to perform to a higher level than they did against the Irons.

He told BBC Sport: "They played better than us, it is fair to say, I don't think anyone will disagree. We got away with it, sometimes we have lost when we should have won, so over a season it evens itself out.

"We got away with it, got three points and in a few years no-one will remember how we played if we finished in the top four.

"Of course, we have a game on Tuesday night too, which may have played on the player's minds.

"With a performance like this we all know we will struggle in Barcelona and we will have to improve."

United can be backed at 7/1 to win the game in Barcelona on Tuesday, while they are 8/1 to reach the semi-finals and 5/2 to go all the way and win the Champions League.

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Pellegrini issues Blues boss defence

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has defended Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri ahead of the their Premier League encounter on Monday night.

Sarri has come under pressure for his style of play at Stamford Bridge this season, with the Blues currently battling for a top-four finish.

However, Pellegrini is full of admiration for the former Napoli boss and feels the Italian deserves credit for what he has done in his first season in English game.

"Maurizio is just starting his first season here in England. It is not easy to come to the Premier League, you must know a lot of things," Pellegrini said.

"He is maybe part of the reason they were playing very well and now that they have a couple of bad results you cannot not trust in all that he is doing.

"He is a very good manager. He demonstrated that at another team so I hope that he will finish this season in a good position for Chelsea.

"Chelsea in this moment are close to the spot of Champions League for next season. Maybe they are not involved in the title but they continue fighting for the Europa League and they reached the final of the League Cup.

"So when we finish the season if Chelsea are in a spot of the Champions League I think that will be a good season for Chelsea and Maurizio Sarri."

West Ham are 10/1 to win, 5/1 to draw and 3/10 to lose to the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

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Sarri points to Suarez record

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri believes loan striker Gonzalo Higuain can follow the example of Luis Suarez and go on to be a big success in English football.

Thirty-one-year-old Argentina international Higuain joined the Blues on loan from Juventus in January, but has since scored just three times in ten games in all competitions and has one goal to his name in his last eight outings.

However, far from writing the player off, Sarri contends that his former Napoli charge can take heart from the efforts of another South American, former Liverpool frontman Suarez.

Uruguay international Suarez netted four times in 13 appearances for the Reds between February and May 2011, following his big-money arrival.

However, by the time he moved on to Barcelona in the summer of 2014, Suarez has racked up 82 goals in 133 appearances in all competitions.

Recalling that feat, Sarri told reporters: "I think that he has to improve. Physically, mentally, but I think also that he will be able to be very useful for us in the last part of the season.

"You know very well that it's not easy in the first months to play in the Premier League, it was a problem also for Suarez – in the first season at Liverpool he only scored four goals.

"But in the second season he scored 24 goals. So, it's not easy for a striker to play immediately well in the Premier League. I think he has time for improvement."

The Blues are back in action on Monday evening, when they host West Ham in a Premier League clash.

Higuain is 5/6 to score at any time in that game, with Olivier Giroud priced at 11/10 and Eden Hazard 4/5.

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Pellegrini makes call for support

West Ham star Marko Arnautovic needs more support according to Irons head coach Manuel Pellegrini, with the forward without a goal in his last eight club games.

The 29-year-old Austria international had already netted seven Premier League goals by early January, but has been unable to add to his tally since then.

That loss of form has coincided with a struggle to overcome a niggling knee injury, as well as Arnautovic having looked set to leave the Hammers to head to China.

However, Pellegrini feels the time is right for everyone associated with the club to join together and aid Arnautovic in his efforts to end the season on a positive note.

The Chilean admitted. "The fans are not happy, Marko is not happy, but this happens to players when they are not in their best moment.

"They need support more than punishment. Marko wants to do things better, he is absolutely involved with our team – China is over.

"Anyone thinking Marko doesn't want to be here, they are wrong. I repeat he is not in a good moment – he doesn't have the same support of the fans that he had six months ago, but with work and the right mentality then he will return."

Arnautovic and West Ham are back in action on Monday evening, when they make a visit to Stamford Bridge to take on capital rivals Chelsea.

The Irons are 17/2 to win the game, with Arnautovic priced at 3/1 to score at any time, while the Blues are available at 8/1 to secure a 1-0 victory.

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