Vladimir Ivic has hailed Troy Deeney as a leader after he helped guide Watford to an emphatic 4-1 win over Preston North End on Saturday.

The captain started his first game this season after recovering from surgery during the brief break between last season and this one. 

It was a memorable return as well as he scored from the penalty spot and set up Nathaniel Chalobah as the Hornets put four past their opponents and climbed up to third in the Championship table.

Speaking after the match, Ivic said Deeney was smart and has a good understanding of the game.

"He is the leader, he is the player who can manage the situation and give advice for the young men around him," said Ivic. "He's an experienced guy. After a long period, it was his first game [playing from the start], to score one goal, to assist and we score one more. 

Watford Observer:

"He's an experienced player, he knows how to do the movement, how to take a good position in front of the opponent and I know that Troy is a smart guy, he understands that this is just the beginning."

Deeney's return to both form and the starting lineup will help Ivic going forward, particularly with Andre Gray sustaining an injury in the same hamstring that kept him out for two months prior to the start of the season.

Ivic was also buoyed by the return of Stipe Perica who will also be expected to pitch in up front during the busy schedule ahead.

"I think it's not in doubt, everybody knows that Troy is a very important player," said Ivic.

"We know he is the guy who came after a long period out injured and he did his job today. It's the first game he started and I expect that he will be available in the next games to help us.

"I said now before for Andre we need to be smart and to think about his performance, how we will use him in the next games because my target is not to put Troy to play a game and after to stay without him. Not [my plan] for no one.

Watford Observer:

"Normally he's the guy who can help us and has helped us and I want to have him in the team. Every coach wants to have a player who can score and we have other players who offer the same.

"Andre Gray is a guy who is a quality player who can give us numbers. And Joao Pedro and Stipe Perica. Stipe came back now after an injury what he what he got against Bournemouth. You know, in this kind of the game, when it's every three or four days, we need to think about a lot of things."