“It’s better to improve if you win”. That was one of the key messages from Javi Gracia as he reflected on the 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion which lifted Watford up to ninth in the Premier League table.

The nature of the win was similar to last week’s triumph over Everton in many respects, as the Hornets again ground out a win after a scrappy encounter thanks to Troy Deeney’s fine second-half finish.

Gracia acknowledged his captain’s vital contribution, but was quick to point to other plus-points to come out of his third successive home victory since taking over at Vicarage Road.

He said: “I think today we have many positives, one of them is Troy has scored again, a second goal in the last two games and we get six important points.

"But we have a lot of positives, another clean sheet and all these things improve the level of the team and we have more options to get points.

“We know we have two tough games away (at Arsenal and Liverpool next) and we needed points from these home games. I don’t know what will happen in the future but we know we are in a good moment and we will try to continue it.”

Asked further about Deeney, who was making his 300th league appearance for Watford, Gracia said: “I’m very happy with him. I don’t know what happened in the past. I see him working a lot and he’s scoring important goals in this moment, but I’ve spoken about that a lot of times.

"Training is not only important if you score or don’t score goals, it’s important for us on the pitch and off the pitch.”

Deeney’s goal was set up by substitute Will Hughes, who made his return to first-team action following a three-month lay-off with a hamstring injury.

“It’s good news for us,” Gracia said. “Not only Will, Miguel Britos only played a couple of minutes but he’s again with us. I’m happy for them because they have been injured for a long time and now we have more possibilities, more options to choose from.”

The Hornets head coach also praised Adrian Mariappa, who marked his 250th start for the Hornets with an impressive display in the centre of defence.

“I think he’s playing well, not only him but all the defensive line,” Gracia said. “We are improving movements, improving with statistics like clean sheets, but I’m very happy with Adrian.

“Today we have a lot of things to improve also, a lot of loose passes, it was a close match, but it’s better to improve if you win.”