Javi Gracia identified picking up his new Watford squad's rock-bottom confidence as his initial priority in his first interview since taking the job.

The Hornets dressing room is a despondent place on the back of eight defeats from the last 11 league games, and losing a head coach who was still popular among the ranks in Marco Silva will not have helped matters.

But Gracia's pedigree, specifically at Malaga, speaks for itself, and the 47-year-old plans to take on board the thoughts of players and staff alike as he sets up his philosophy for the club.

He told the club website: "The most important thing at the moment is to improve the confidence of the players. They have played very well in some games this season, and I’m sure they can do it again.

"I’ve seen all the matches of Watford this season, and I know many of the players. I know there are many injured players but we will try to recover them and turn things around.

"The most important thing is to understand the situation and work out the most important things to do. I want to listen to the players and staff who are here, and I want to get down to hard work."

Gracia said the opportunity to work in the Premier League was a "dream" and admitted the scope of the task at Watford, given their current run of form, was a big one.

But the former Real Sociedad and Villarreal defensive midfielder, who retired in 2004, is looking forward to getting down to work at London Colney.

He added: "It’s a big challenge. I think it’s a dream, too. I was a football player for 15 years, and after that experience I want to relive that kind of feeling as a coach. I like to embrace my job. I work hard to get results and ensure people trust me and are happy with me.

"It’s not easy arriving when the league is like it is, but that’s our job – we have to be ready, and Watford called me, we have plenty of energy to win the rest of the games this season.

"You live in different environments outside of your comfort zone working overseas, and you can improve your life, you can be part of different cultures and I think that’s good.

"It’s an important step in my career. I have come from Spain, I think it’s a good league, obviously it’s my country but I’m looking for another experience in my life. I’ve coached in Russia too, and I’m ready for a new opportunity. I’m very happy to be here."