A smile goes a long way and Javi Gracia’s cheerful demeanour, coupled with an appetite for hard work, is getting the best from his Watford side.

That is the opinion put forward by Adrian Mariappa, who has been impressed with the manner in which the Spaniard has taken to his job at Vicarage Road.

The Watford centre-back has been impressed with what Gracia has brought to the table since taking the reins last month.

“I have really enjoyed working with him. He is very enthusiastic about football and always has a smile on his face and I think that rubs off on players,” Mariappa said.

“I think you can see from the performances it has worked so far.

“He has had a positive impact on our performances and results as well. He and his staff are working very hard day in day out to get us results.”

Gracia’s start to life at Vicarage Road was complicated from the get go. He took over a Watford side on a run of eight defeats in 11 Premier League games and in the midst of an injury crisis.

After initially opting for a defensive approach, Gracia has looked to coax a more attacking style out of his players.

Mariappa believes Gracia’s approach has produced a positive response and praised the manner in which he handled Watford’s fitness worries.

“It is not ideal for any manager. You do not want that many players out injured but he has dealt well with it and we are getting a few players back to boost the squad,” he said.

“He came in and the game against Stoke you could see our structure was very good and we got a clean sheet which was a massive positive at the time.

“That is what we really needed going forward. He demands we defend and attack as a team. It might look like we are being more defensive but we scored four goals against Chelsea.”