Javi Gracia felt Miguel Britos’ impressive display in Watford’s 1-0 victory at Queens Park Rangers was another illustration of the professionalism in his squad and the players’ commitment to the club.

Apart from a substitute appearance against Burnley last month, the 33-year-old has been restricted to appearances in the FA Cup this season, but he was in fine form at Loftus Road as he combatted the considerable physical challenge of Hoops striker Matt Smith after the pair had collided early on.

The Hornets head coach acknowledged this and said: “In the beginning of the game it was a difficult moment after he clashed with Smith, but he’s a good professional. But it’s nothing different than with (Christian) Kabasele. Both played when in the last game (Craig) Cathcart and (Adrian) Mariappa played in their positions, and they showed they can do it, they can manage the line, they can defend like today and to get another clean sheet.

“I think it’s important for the team, not only for one player, that in this moment getting these results is because all of them have a high commitment with the club, not with me, and they are good professionals.”

Another player whose professionalism was praised is Heurelho Gomes and the goalkeeper was able to celebrate his 38th birthday by keeping a third consecutive clean sheet in the competition this season.

Gracia again spoke in the build-up to the tie about how much he values Gomes’ contributions on and off the pitch and he reiterated: “Not only for today, I’ve said many times Heurelho is very important when he plays and when he doesn’t play. His experience, his attitude is always important for the team and today the victory is a good gift for him.”

The clean sheet was Watford’s fifth in their last six matches in all competitions and it again underlined the resilience they have been developing, with Gracia’s men finding a way to get the result without playing well as an attacking unit.

The Hornets boss said: “Today we have showed what we can do as a team, competing in difficult moments because today we have suffered. But we’ve been demanding to defend set pieces well and all the situations, but the team is always keeping a high level, playing against Woking, playing against QPR in this case or playing against Everton last weekend.

“It’s important for the team always to feel in this moment, with these players, with this squad, we can compete in all the games and we can beat anyone and we can lose to anyone as well.”