Javi Gracia praised his players’ character and felt they had again been rewarded for showing a good level of performance after Watford came from behind to win 2-1 at Crystal Palace.

The Hornets were trailing at the interval after poor defending at a corner saw an Abdoulaye Doucoure clearance hit Craig Cathcart and rebound over the goalline.

But the Northern Ireland international began the fightback mid-way through the second half when he headed home a Jose Holebas corner, and five minutes later the Hornets were in front after Tom Cleverley superbly volleyed home from the edge of the penalty area.

The Watford head coach said: “I’m very proud of all my players, not only for today. I think in all the games we have played we have competed well, with good results, with bad results, but always keeping a very good level. This is our mentality. Try to keep our level until the end.”

The visitors should have been in front early on when Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra both hit the same post and there was a fear they would pay the price for that double miss when the Eagles took the lead.

Gracia though, remained confident, although he admitted the own goal didn’t help his side’s cause.

“I think we started very well with this clear chance, but I was sure we would create more chances during the game,” he said. “After the own goal it was more difficult for us, but in that moment the team showed character, ambition and to turn the result around was important for us.”

Cleverley was introduced immediately after the equaliser, but it was another substitute he took the place off after Ken Sema had replaced Will Hughes in the first-half due to a suspected concussion.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but in that moment I thought I had to do it,” Gracia said of substituting a substitute. “I’m very sorry because I don’t like to do it but I had to do it.”