Watford prepared for Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Wolverhampton Wanderers in what Javi Gracia felt was the best way possible – by winning tonight.

A good second-half performance saw the Hornets run out comfortable 4-1 victors over Fulham thanks to three goals in 12 minutes from Will Hughes, Troy Deeney and Kiko Femenia.

However, that upturn in performance came after Gracia had made a double change at the start of the second period and switched to three at the back, after a largely disappointing first-half display had seen Ryan Babel cancel out Abdoulaye Doucuoure’s opener.

The Hornets head coach acknowledged the opening 45 minutes had not been good enough and said: “In the first half Fulham, in my opinion, played much, much better than us. We didn’t have the possession, we didn’t find the right balance, we didn’t adjust well in our movements, but in the second we felt better, with more possession, creating more chances and scoring more goals.

“And now, as I said before the game, to win was the best way to prepare for the next game. The players from this moment are recovering, they have enough time to recover and to prepare for the next important game.”

Asked if he felt angry, Gracia replied: “In the first half, yes, because I didn’t like what I saw, but after I think the team needed to change something, support and to be calm and to play better in the second half.”

The win moved the Hornets up to 46 points – the highest total in the club’s Premier League history – but Gracia stressed his players want to keep pushing on.

He said: “They are many games left to play and some of them where we are feeling really well. It is something special for us. To get 46 points, the best ever in the Premier it is something which is a very good reward for all these players working very, very hard from the beginning.

“It’s important but the players don’t want to stop there. They want to keep going, keep getting more points and they are very, very demanding.”

Andre Gray once again had to settle for a place on the bench, but after coming on at the start of the second half he produced an impressive display, capping it with assists for the third and fourth goals.

The Hornets head coach again acknowledged the striker had given him plenty of food though, explaining: “All the games I have to take difficult decisions and if you ask me today about Andre Gray, it was the same after scoring important goals for us playing at home.

“He always has played well and I know he’s a very important player for us. In this moment he’s helping the team and I think he’s only focused on the way to help the team.

“For the next game we’ll see. I have to take difficult decisions and after the performance today I have to think about that because I always try to choose the best option for the next game.”