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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 21, 2006

Jubilant Boothroyd laughs off relegation talk

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd believes it was the club's destiny to reach the Barclays Premiership this season after seeing his side brush aside Leeds 3-0 in the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final.

And the ultra-confident 35-year-old insisted Watford are now a model for similar-sized clubs all over the country and would not be relegated at the end of their first season in the top flight.

Defender Jay DeMerit's far post header in the first half set Watford on their way at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, before a fortuitous deflection saw James Chambers' shot go in off Leeds keeper Neil Sullivan to add a second early in the second half.

Striker Darius Henderson underlined Watford's superiority when he converted a late penalty following Shaun Derry's foul on Marlon King.

'I know we're going to be favourites to go down,' said Boothroyd, a surprise choice to replace former Watford boss Ray Lewington 14 months ago.

'But that's okay. We won't go down. If I started to think about that, that's what will happen - it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

'The best way to sum it all up is to say we are now a model for other clubs that don't have a great deal of money. 'With good organisation, preparation, a fantastic work ethic, a real hunger and a no-fear attitude anything is possible.'

Boothroyd and his squad visited the Millennium Stadium and their hotel earlier in the week, so they would not feel too out of place on the day.

'It's about playing the game and not the occasion. I was hoping I'd have eight or nine players on top of their game on the day. I got 13 or 14.'

Boothroyd is one of a new breed of young managers emerging in English football to take coaching to a new level and he is determined to build on his breathtaking early success.

'I want to build something at Watford. I want us to have the best academy in the world, to bring youth through and I want the club to grow.'

The former Leeds coach also had words of sympathy for opposite number Kevin Blackwell.

'I have a great deal of sympathy for Leeds and Kevin Blackwell,' he said.

'To be on that touchline can be a lonely place sometimes.

'Kevin came in to say well done to the players, which took a lot of doing and I respect him for that.

'They're a massive club and I'm sure they will bounce back.'

Blackwell agreed that his players would not be feeling sorry for themselves for long.

'It's been a marvellous achievement for everybody,' he said.

'We'll dust ourselves down but we're very disappointed today - although not as disappointed as when we dropped out of the Premier League and lost all our players.

'We cannot replay the game, it's gone and we'll have to live with that.

'We have not done what we came here to do. The dressing room is very quiet.

'But I wish Adrian all the best in the Premier League. Go on and enjoy it and congratulations.'

Blackwell appointed Boothroyd as his coach in the summer of 2004 before Watford came calling, but would not take any credit for the younger man's meteoric success.

'I take no credit,' said Blackwell. 'This is Adrian's day.

'I gave him his chance and he's grabbed every opportunity. I wish him all the best.

'At the moment Adrian is riding high, but I'm proud to be at this club.'