A beaming Javi Gracia struggled to stop smiling as he reflected on what he described as an “unforgettable night” after Watford’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea.

Few would have dreamed of such an outcome to the Spaniard’s first game at Vicarage Road but after taking a deserved lead through Troy Deeney’s penalty after Tiemoue Bakayoko had been sent off, it looked like the 10-man Blues might deny their hosts as Eden Hazard equalised with nine minutes of normal time remaining.

But the Hornets’ response was stunning as Daryl Janmaat, Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra all netted fine goals in the closing stages to complete a memorable victory.

“It’s difficult to explain how I feel in this moment,” said Gracia afterwards. “I’m very happy because of this performance, I’m really proud of the work of my players and I’m happy for our fans because they enjoy a great match, a great victory.”

While the victory was important in itself – it was only their second in 13 Premier League games and lifted them to six points above the relegation zone – the Hornets head coach is only too aware of what it could mean for his players moving forward for the remainder of the campaign.

He said: “It’s important not only for the three points but we needed that for the motivation and to believe in our possibilities and in our work.

“The match changed after the sending off but I’m happy with all the match. We created chances in the first half and second half, playing against 10 and 11. I don’t think it we had only a good result because Chelsea played with only 11 players.

“I’m proud of this team because against different teams we played different ways and gained four points (after the 0-0 draw at Stoke City). In this moment, as I said before, we needed them.”