Tom Cleverley praised Watford striker Joao Pedro after his late stunner gave the Hornets a 1-0 win over Derby County on Friday night.

The midfielder, who has been filling in as captain in Troy Deeney's absence, said the 19-year-old deserved to score winner after the effort he has been putting in in training.

“Joao’s got that quality, it’s brilliant playing with him,” Cleverley told the club website.

“I thought we didn't use him enough in the first half but he was making some good runs and we found him a bit more in the second half.

Watford Observer:

“It was a brilliant strike. He’s hungry, he’s another one who works hard. He’s put about 7kg of muscle on since he arrived in the country, he knows what he wants to do and it’s nice to see.”


The victory was a good response to the Hornets' defeat at Reading in their previous game, although Cleverley would have preferred to have not had to wait for international fixtures before playing. 

“It’s never easy to have two weeks to mull over a defeat, but we’ve worked so hard in these last two weeks,” he said.

“We’ve been in most days and I think the boys deserve it off the back of the work they’ve put in.”

While three points were picked up, head coach Vladimir Ivic knows there is work to be done to improve his side, particularly in attack.

Cleverley echoed the boss's sentiments and said they need to be more ruthless.

“We’re well drilled, we’ve only conceded one goal and we don’t concede many chances at all,” he said.

“We’ve got a foundation that’s been fantastic so far and with that you can always go places.

“We’ve still got work to do going the other way but tonight we got more crosses in the box. We can still be a bit more ruthless, but I thought we deserved it. We edged the second half and we deserved the win.

“We’re taking each game as it comes, we’ve got a tough week ahead and our target is to bounce straight back up.”