Javi Gracia says it is difficult to manage Jose Holebas’ emotions after the Watford defender picked up a sixth booking of the season against Newcastle United.

Holebas earned a place in Craig Pawson’s book after getting involved in a melee during the second half of Saturday’s 1-0 loss at St James’ Park.

It was a needless booking as the combustible left-back made a concerted effort to insert himself in the action after Roberto Pereyra had been involved in a coming together with Deandre Yedlin.

Having already served a suspension for picking up five yellow cards, Holebas would do well to keep a lid on his temper after avoiding a caution in just three games this term.

Watford head coach Gracia admitted that Holebas can complicate matters with his combative approach, but accepts it is part of the 34-year-old’s character.

“Jose is difficult sometimes. He has experience and he knows how to manage different situations,” the Spaniard said.

“Sometimes he wants to help the team and in critical moments it is not easy to contain him. He is always very polite and I do try to speak with him sometimes about his discipline.”

Gracia made no secret of the importance he had placed on set pieces in the build up to Saturday’s clash with Newcastle, citing the Magpies’ tendency to concede while defending such situations this term.

With this in mind, it was perhaps little surprise to see dead ball specialist Holebas replace Adam Masina on the left side of Watford’s defence.

Masina has made a strong case to be Watford’s first choice left-back since making his maiden Premier League start against Wolves – helping the Hornets record back-to-back clean sheets in his first two outings.

Gracia was, therefore, quick to point out that his decision to start Holebas ahead of the summer signing had nothing to do with Masina’s performance levels.

He said: “We thought the characteristics of Jose were better to play against Newcastle but not because Adam played better or worse in the last game.

“Everybody knows Adam kept a very good level in all the games he has played and I am very happy with him.”