Abdoulaye Doucouré has lifted the lid on what life at Vicarage Road is really like under Hornets boss Javi Gracia.
A brief chuckle and “Yes, yes,” was Abdoulaye Doucouré response after being asked if rumours of £100 fines per-minute for players late to training were true.
He was quick to add: “I think in the biggest club it’s more than £100 per minute so I think it’s something normal in football, you have to be on time for work… it’s expensive of course…”
It is seemingly particularly expensive for the Watford midfielder, who admitted he has not always made it on time.
He said: “No no no (I’m not always on time), I’ve tried you know, but if I’m late I have to pay like everyone.
In reference to how much this season has cost him and his teammates so far, he said: “Honestly, I don’t know, but a lot of players came late so you had a lot of money to spend at a restaurant after!”
Manager Javi Gracia, initially reluctant to discuss the matter, said: “I think all the groups need discipline. I don’t like to have many rules because I think the players should be responsible… they are professionals, they have to know what they have to do.
“I don’t like to take away money, but I think we need some rules and I think it’s a good way to achieve our objectives.”
Gracia also revealed that the negative of fining players is often made positive by where the funds go, saying: “They have different options of where the money goes, one of them is charity.”
The Hornets manager is seemingly accustomed to making the best of a bad situation; he inherited a squad that had won just one game of 11 league matches last January – now they look a different team entirely as they linger in the top half of the table after winning their opening four games of the season, which included beating prolific teams like Spurs and Burnley.
While discipline is one tactic deployed by the manager to get results, being united as a club is equally important to the Spaniard. He said: “It’s important to get points because all the people is (sic) happier.
“But even from the beginning, when the results were not so good, my feelings are good. It’s (the team) a family, we win together, we suffer together.”
Doucouré poured praise on his manager for his attitude: “The manager is very hard working, he wants to win every game. He has a lot of advice for all the players. We had the four wins in a row and the manager was very happy with that.”
Picture courtesy of Watford FC