Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes spoke of his emotion after making what was likely his last appearance at Vicarage Road as Watford reached an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace saw Gomes recalled to Javi Gracia’s starting XI to continue as keeper in their cup competitions.
Ben Foster’s impressive form means the 38-year-old Brazilian has little chance of re-establishing himself as first-choice stopper between now and the season’s end, when after five years he is set to leave, and could even threaten his hopes of starting the semi-final.
Gomes appeared close to tears at the final whistle, having been so key in Watford becoming an established Premier League club, and he told their official website: “It was very emotional, as it can be in my last game. It’s been like this for a long, long time, since I joined the club in 2014, so I want to thank the supporters once again.
“It’s very special, the cup and (Wembley) stadium. We can dream about going further; this is a big possibility for us. We need to focus on the league now, but it’s a possibility to start thinking about the semi-finals. We can finish (the season) well at Wembley as well.
“It’s been an amazing season for us – the best since we got promoted.
“It’s emotional (for me). It’s exactly what I asked before the game – let’s grab the chance to get to Wembley – and they gave everything, they did and I’m so proud.
“The wind was very, very difficult. You couldn’t see it but it makes it very difficult for us. At the end we kept our focus, which was important. It’s always a tough game against Palace and we managed to win against them again.”
It was Etienne Capoue who gave Watford the lead, and Andre Gray who secured victory after Michy Batshuayi had scored for Palace in the second half.
The visitors’ captain Luka Milivojevic described the concession of Gray’s goal – a classy, first-time finish – as “very cheap”, and after three defeats from four the risk of relegation from the Premier League could soon grow.
“We conceded a very cheap goal in the second half that put us down,” he told Palace’s official website.
“Most of the second half we controlled. We had possession and we controlled, we played the most of the second half in their half of the pitch.
“Maybe we didn’t create clear-cut chances but we had before Michy’s goal we had his chance, we had Max Meyer’s at the corner with his head, we had in the end Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s chance and a few more shots as well.”