Javi Gracia feels Watford have benefited from playing against a high quality of opposition in pre-season as preparations intensify for the Premier League opener at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

Following a defeat against Champions League semi-finalists Ajax in their first friendly of the summer, the Hornets have gone on to beat German and Spanish top-flight opposition in Bayer Leverkusen and Real Sociedad respectively, either side of also winning at Queens Park Rangers.

“We started from July 1 and from that moment the period we trained at the training ground and the week we were in Austria, I’m really pleased with all the different moments,” the Hornets head coach responded when asked how he felt pre-season had gone.

“The games were good for us against very good teams, a high level – Ajax, Leverkusen, today Real Sociedad and even QPR – all of them were tough games and I prefer to play against these teams. It was good for us to have these experiences and now I think we are ready to compete.”

Prior to the start of the new season though, comes the closing of the transfer window.

“I’m always open,” Gracia smiled after Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sociedad. “I am expecting until the last moment but I focus only on training trying to prepare as best as possible for the game against Brighton.

“If something happens we’ll see, but at this moment I don’t want to spend time speaking about if we have other options or possibilities. I prefer to speak about the next game.”