Beppe Sannino believes Watford are starting to show togetherness and mental toughness after the Hornets held on for a gutsy 1-0 home win against Middlesbrough.

It was far from plain-sailing for the Golden Boys who had Samba Diakite sent off soon after Troy Deeney had opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 50th minute.

Borough’s Ben Gibson then did Watford a favour by himself being shown red and despite the visitors’ piling on the pressure late on, Sannino’s men held on for another important three points.

“What I've been pleased about since joining the club is how the players have adapted so quickly to the right mentality in terms of how they are on the pitch together as men not just football players,” said the Italian head coach.

“I liked the whole match, not just part of the game, because my team had to really dig deep.

“There was a moment when we were in command but there was also a part of the game when we worked as a team and as a unit and I am very pleased with my lads.”

After Diakite’s dismissal, Forestieri was forced to drop into midfield leaving Troy Deeney up front on his own and Sannino singled out the Watford striker for special praise.

He said: “I would like to say thank you to Troy because he played on his own up front and he was able to keep the Middlesbrough defenders occupied.”

Watford move up to 12th in the table and are now six points behind the last play-off place.

The Hornets are unbeaten in their last four matches and have won three of those but Sannino insists there is still much work to do.

“If you ask me what we can improve I think we can improve in how we manage certain phases of the game,” he said.

“I have been doing this job for 25 years and I am always looking for something to improve and I am also always looking at myself.

“Even if it seems like we are doing well I think we have to improve.

“Our opposition find difficulties because of the way we are playing and the way we are set up tactically.”

Sannino also paid tribute to Middlesbrough and their head coach Aitor Karanka.

"I would like to give credit to Middlesbrough because they tried to play football and their manager was good today in how he managed the game and allowed the team to play," he added.

"I think this gives us even more credit to our victory.

"In the championship I've said many times before its not only physicality but quality. And my colleagues are doing good job."