Javi Gracia was delighted Watford made a winning start to their new Premier League campaign, but felt the way they went about beating Brighton & Hove Albion was “more important to us”.

The Hornets were positive from the outset and had already gone close to making the breakthrough before Roberto Pereyra did so in superb fashion with a volley following a Jose Holebas cross with around 10 minutes of the first half remaining.

And it was the same combination that did the trick nine minutes after the restart when Holebas slipped the ball through to his teammate in space on the left and he closed in on the target before curling home his second in confident fashion.

The Hornets head coach said: “I think to start with a win is very important but the way we did it is more important to us.

“We played really well, not only with the ball but without the ball – quick reactions after losing it – and playing really as a team. I’m happy for the players.”

Asked about his two-goal man-of-the-match, Gracia said: “He doesn’t surprise me because I know he’s able to do it, but today he opened the game with a corner kick and after that Roberto scored a goal how he can. But as I said before, he doesn’t surprise me.”

The former Juventus midfielder has been linked with a reunion with former boss Walter Mazzarri at Torino during the summer, but Gracia reiterated that he has no desire to lose a player he believes is key to the Hornets.

“I don’t expect anybody to go out in the last movement and during the summer I really don’t know the movements,” he said. “I only want the players who worked with me last season, they stay with me this season as well and Roberto is one of them. He is a high-quality player and I think he’s very important for us.

“We needed to reorganise after Richarlison went to Everton and today, playing with two strikers, all the team being very competitive, I think we have played really well. We try not to miss Richarlison this season and try to look for the solution with the players we have this moment.”