Vladimir Ivic insists his Watford side need improvement following their 1-0 win over Middlesbrough in their Championship opener.

Craig Cathcart's headed goal early on was enough to separate the sides come full-time, as the chances dried up for both sides in a game that was, for the most part, a scrappy midfield battle.

While Ivic was pleased with the victory and a first clean sheet since February, he thinks there is a lot of work to be done before he can be satisfied with his team.

"I believe at the start of the game, there were a lot of long balls from both sides and a lot of set pieces, free kicks, corners," he said. "I believe that in this kind of the game, we were better and we scored one goal, we created, I think, one very good chance after in the first-half with Joao Pedro. It's the first game. For sure we have to work a lot to improve a lot of things in our game – a lot of details that are very important.

"I believe that we didn’t do good things in our attacking moment. We didn’t play very well with the ball. We have to work a lot to improve this part of the game because we worked on this part and sometimes during the game, some things don’t go in the right direction, how you prepare it.

"It was the first game, it was a lot of players who played and who did just seven to ten practices because we had a lot of them who came to work with us after the quarantine and unfortunately it was not enough time to work and to improve, especially today this part, the attacking part. I believe that we can do much better and we need to find the reason why we didn’t do it the way we worked on."

The win came despite a number of key first team players missing from the starting lineup, with injuries and illness both taking a toll.

Ivic said he could only work with those who were at his disposal today, but in the future wants only those who will show that they want to work for the club.

He also hopes the fans will be able to return soon.

"It’s difficult, it’s not easy but you know it’s part of my work, my job and we need to work with the guys who are ready to play, who are ready to give 100 per cent for the club and who wants to be here," he said. 

"For me it’s very important to work with this group of players who will be positive every day and will show that they’re enjoying their work and playing for Watford FC.

"It was not the way it could be with the fans. This situation is not good for no one, for sure fans give other adrenaline for all of the players, for the coach, for everyone and I hope that they will be with us and the stadium will be full in the next months."