Joel Ekstrand says Beppe Sannino has been able to communicate his ideas clearly despite the Hornets head coach not speaking English.

Sannino has overseen just three matches since taking charge earlier this month but he has quickly made the Hornets harder to break down defensively.

The attacking style has been somewhat sacrificed for solidity, bar the 4-0 victory against Millwall when the opposition had ten men, but Ekstrand stresses the management still want Watford to play attractive football.

The Swedish centre-back believes reaching the play-offs remains a realistic goal for the Hornets but accepts it will take time for the team to fulfil Sannino’s vision on how the side should play.

Ekstrand said: “We did very well against QPR and did what the manager asked of us. There was a lot of attention on the organisation of the team and we kept a clean sheet.

“It is always difficult for a new manager to get his ideas over and get the team how he wants it straight away.

“We are not playing the way he wants of course after just a couple of weeks. But he has already got his ideas over clearly and we are doing many things in a different way.

“He is very good at getting his will, and what he wants, over to the players. The first impressions are very positive; he knows what he wants and has a clear vision of how he wants us to play football.”

Watford’s slightly conservative approach has paid off so far and Sannino is unbeaten since taking the helm.

The Hornets have kept back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season but Ekstrand says the Italian head coach still wants the team to play “good football”.

The centre back explained: “You can see just from what he says that he comes from the Italian background but that is very positive.

“When we have the ball he still wants us to play good football like we did under (Gianfranco) Zola.

“But the big difference is when we are out of possession and defending, there is a different emphasis on that.”

The Hornets’ New Year’s Day game against Yeovil Town was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and other results meant Watford dropped to 14th in the Championship table.

Despite their stuttering form, the club are just six points outside of the play-off positions and Ekstrand believes a promotion push remains a possibility.

He said: “You always want to go on a good run but because we had the ten games without a win, it is even more important for us now. We need to pick up as many points as possible.

“QPR were a good team with many good players but we could have beaten them so that is good for our confidence.

“We can still make the play-offs – of course that is not over because we had a bad period – there is a long way to go. Even Manchester United had a bad spell.

“QPR was a good test for us to see where we are and we have seen we are in a good way and need to keep going and get even stronger.”