Watford head coach Nigel Pearson was full of praise for Will Hughes after his performance in the 2-0 victory against Manchester United and the manner in which he has matured as a player and person.

The 24-year-old was again deployed in a deeper midfield position, but carried on from where he left off at Liverpool the previous weekend with a performance that epitomised all that was good about the hard-working Hornets as they finally ended their search for a first home league win of the season.

Pearson said of the player he previously managed at Derby County: “I thought he was brilliant today, and he was last week as well.

“Bear in mind the last time I saw Will I was at Derby, it didn’t really work out for me, but he’s really matured fantastically well as a player and as a person.

“I’m not a big one for singling out individuals, but you brought that up so I’m very pleased to be able to agree with you. I thought he was really, really good today.”

The new Hornets boss was also complimentary about the displays of Adrian Mariappa and Kiko Femenia.

Like at Anfield, the two defenders were again deployed not in their usual positions, but both caught the eye in minimising the attacking threat of Marcus Rashford and Daniel James from the United flanks, as well as helping Watford’s attacking play when possible.

“They played their part in a really solid team performance,” Pearson said of the full-backs. “I’ve been asked a similar question by the guys on the radio about playing out of position. For me they played their positions very well today.

“It’s always about trying to pick the right starting XI for any game and I just felt after our performance last week it wouldn’t be right to make any changes. I’m pleased, very pleased for them.”