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After hanging up his boots at Cordoba in 2004, Javi Gracia kick-started his coaching career with the youth teams of Villarreal.

In 2007 he accepted his first managerial position with Pontevedra in Segunda Division B, the third tier of Spanish football.

In 2008 he was appointed manager of Cadiz where he achieved promotion in his first season.

He subsequently coached Villarreal B, before enjoying spells working in Greece with Olympiacos Volou and Kerkyra.

Returning to Spain, he guided Almeria back to the top flight in 2013 before moving to Osasuna.

In 2014 Gracia was appointed as manager of Malaga, where in his first season in charge he held eventual champions Barcelona to a 0-0 draw at La Rosaleda before a famous 1-0 win at the Nou Camp.

The following season Malaga twice held Real Madrid to a draw. During his tenure, despite limited resources, Gracia led his team to consecutive top 10 finishes in La Liga Following a year in Russia managing Rubin Kazan, in January 2018 Gracia was appointed manager of Premier League side Watford.

During his first full season he successfully retained Watford’s Premier League status through a midtable finish whilst leading the club to the FA Cup final for the first time in 35 years, and for only the second time in Watford’s history.


This is a session we actually ran after a pre-season game at Valencia this year.

For the players that played more than 60 minutes of the game, their training would be focused on recovery and largely based on aerobic work, with some upper body weights and some time on the exercise bikes.

But for the ones that played less than 60 minutes, we would run this top up session with the ball. It’s based in football and structured endurance.

In attack, this session works on our possession and establishing our superiority in transition.

We also work on the proper use of space. In defence, we work on closing space inside, pressing after losing the ball and recovering our shape on the transition from attack to defence.

We would run this session after every game, as the work is based on these principles – it’s a recovery session and a good, high-intensity workout with the ball for the players that either didn’t participate in the match or participated less minutes on the pitch.

“It’s a high-intensity workout with the ball for the players that didn’t participate for many minutes in the match”.


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