Hero of the hour Adrian Mariappa admitted Watford could have crumbled after Swansea's second-half performance left them under the cosh at the Liberty Stadium yesterday - but says the Hornets' winning response is testament to their new-found fighting spirit.

The 30-year-old and his team-mates wrote themselves into Vicarage Road folklore yesterday with three away wins in succession in the top flight for the first time in their history.

But it could have been so different after Tammy Abraham deservedly cancelled out Andre Gray's 13th-minute opener to bring the Swans level after half-time.

Watford had abandoned their usual 4-2-3-1 shape for a 5-4-1 at the interval, which left them withstanding heavy pressure at the Liberty Stadium, but they again showed impressive resiliance to score a last-minute winner through Richarlison and go sixth in the Premier League.

"The second half was very tough for us," said Mariappa. "But we stuck at it after conceding the goal. We could’ve crumbled but we fought on and got the win.

"We changed formation, they did as well, but we knew they’d come out strong and they did. We’ll look at things and think we could’ve done better in areas, but the most important thing is to get three points and going away from home and doing that is massive for us.

"It’s a good group of lads here, you can see them all fighting and working hard for each other and never giving up. It was important to have a response from last week and we did that."

Mariappa himself played a vital role as the Hornets kept up their 100-per-cent record away from home, pulling off a stunning tackle on Abraham as the Swans striker prepared to tap home with the scores at 1-1.

He was part of an impressive defensive unit as the Hornets bounced back from a 6-0 thrashing by Manchester City last week, and said head coach Marco Silva's attention to detail has paid dividends for the Hornets backline this season.

Mariappa said: "He’s very thorough in all his details, we know what the gaffer wants from us and it’s about going out onto the pitch and executing that. We try our best to execute it. On days like this, a tough away day, to come away with three points is fantastic.

"It’s my job to put those tackles in. I just put my head in the way, my legs in the way, to help the team, and if I can contribute to getting three points then that’s great.

"It’s what I enjoy, it’s my position and I love defending. You probably don’t hear that too often these days, but I love it and I’ll always put my body in the way for the team."