A delighted Javi Gracia felt Watford got a deserved reward for their preparation after beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Molineux.

The Hornets came into the game off the back of five games without a win in all competitions and following a 4-0 drubbing at home to Bournemouth before the international break. But after feeling their way into the game, the Hornets took command with a rapid-fire two-goal burst from Etienne Capoue and Roberto Pereyra as the midway point of the first half approached.

Gracia’s men were excellent for the remainder of the opening period, but their defensive qualities came more to the fore as they kept a first clean sheet in the league since the first game of the season.

The Watford head coach said: “I’m very pleased for my players, the supporters because after the last game, the last defeat, we had two tough weeks preparing for this game and today we have got a good reward.

“I think we played better in the first half than the second but it was different. In the first half we have dominated with possession, with more passes, creating more chances, scoring two goals in a short period.

“In the second we have defended close to our goalposts, we changed the shape and we needed to do it and we have done well playing against Wolves who, as everybody knows, are playing well this season and playing really well against very good teams. They don’t concede many chances, are always a compact team and well organised as well. For me today it has been a very good game.”

Asked how he gone about plotting Wolves downfall, Gracia said: “Playing against Wolves you have to defend well against their wing-backs. They are very deep and you need to defend well in those situations, but we knew where we could find the spaces to play and I think we felt comfortable in the first half.

“We created good lines of passes, we created the possibility to have good possession but not only keeping the possession, but creating chances to score. I think we did it better in the first half than the second, but for me it was a complete game.”

Suspensions to Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas meant the Hornets boss had to change two of his back four from the Bournemouth defence. Adrian Mariappa and Adam Masina did well in their place, but Gracia praised his side’s all-round defensive showing.

He said: “We needed all the players to defend well. Today we could not defend well if the midfielders, [Etienne] Capoue and [Abdoulaye] Doucoure, were not close to the defensive line, if Roberto Pereyra doesn’t help Adam Masina, but today I thought defensively it was good work because all the players did it really well and to get another clean sheet for us was important, not only to score two goals.”