Football - No nerves before Wembley - Almunia

Veteran goalkeeper Manuel Almunia says there are no signs of nerves in the Watford squad as they prepare for Monday's £120million showdown with Crystal Palace in the npower Championship play-off final at Wembley.

PA Sport
Championship - Almunia: I never look back

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Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia says there are no signs of nerves in the Watford squad

With the improved broadcasting deal for the Barclays Premier League set to come in for the start of next season, top-flight clubs can expect to pocket £55million a year.

Given parachute payments to relegated clubs are also set to increase, even if either the Hornets or Eagles lasted just one term in the division, they would still earn a sum of around £120million.

Yet despite money experts Deloitte branding the Bank Holiday Monday Wembley showdown as "the biggest financial prize in world football" and Watford's own tough economic battles, Spaniard Almunia insists the team are just concentrating on playing the game rather than the occasion.

"We looked back on it in the first few days, because friends and family send you videos and pictures, but since we have come back from Malaga, we are all totally focused on Monday," said the former Arsenal keeper, whose dramatic double penalty save against Leicester sparked an amazing finish to their semi-final, with Troy Deeney crashing home a last-gasp winner.

"The atmosphere in the team is great, and this is a big chance for everybody.

"Most of the players have never been in a game like this in a stadium such as Wembley.

"Everybody is confident and looking forward to the game, which is massive for every club, but I have seen people training this week with no nerves, not talking about it too much, and this is the spirit we have to have."

Almunia, 36, continued: "When you are at a big club, sometimes every few years you play regularly, some finals and big games, but this is even more special for a Championship club because you play to be in the Premier League, for big money for the aspirations of the people, more than if you are at a big club."

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