Defender William Troost-Ekong was one of the club’s senior players who gathered the squad after dinner in their hotel last night to talk about the importance of today’s game with Luton.

The Nigeria skipper is a self-proclaimed Watford fan whose family were season ticket holders before he moved to Vicarage Road, and so he was keen to make sure none of the squad were left in any doubt at all that this game had more resting on it than three points alone.

That certainly paid off as the Hornets romped to a 4-0 victory.

“We had a player meeting yesterday, and that was the key message to all the players,” he said.


Relive the joy of Watford 4 Luton 0

“We had to stand up to the challenge. This was a huge game

“I said ‘Look guys, people have talked about us as a team that can be bullied but I don’t believe that’.

“All of us in the squad at some stage of our career have played lower league or come from all different sorts of backgrounds. We’ve all had to fight in our careers so we have to do it every week on the pitch.

“I’d back our boys against anyone, regardless of the size of the opponent, but we had to find that grit. That was the message today, find that grit: whatever it is that motivates you, use it and play with that fire inside you. We did that from the start today.”

The 4-0 victory was Watford’s biggest against their arch rivals at Vicarage Road, and even some time after the game Troost-Ekong was still visibly thrilled.

“I’m still absolutely buzzing. The adrenaline is probably going to be running through my veins for the rest of the day.

“My family were here so I’m going to see them and I know they’ll be absolutely delighted. Today was a big occasion.

“Games of this magnitude are so important and we’ve talked previously about our lack of consistency, but today everything aligned and I’m really proud of this team because we delivered.”

To weigh in with second goal was an added bonus for the defender, and he said the corner routine that led to it was straight off the training ground.

“It was a routine we had worked on,” he said.

“You try to attack an area and hope that the ball drops there. I’d love to score from half a metre out every time!

“You just have to keep attacking the space and eventually something will drop for you. That’s what happened today.

“I was just so happy in that moment of the game as it gave us an extra boost just before half-time.”

Luton manager Nathan Jones said that the Hornets have arguably the best forward line in the Championship.

“I agree with him,” said Troost-Ekong.

“We have so much in this team and we kept saying before the game that we have to dig deep and get ourselves in a position to play.

“It’s great saying we have a strong team on paper, but we have to go out there and actually make it count.

“The boys up front today were fantastic. When Keinan is in that form you just can’t play against him because he holds everything up and wins everything. That adds an extra dimension because we feel confident moving the ball forward because we know he’ll hold it and bring the other boys into play.

“Isma and Ken both did really well, and then Joao provides that bit of magic. It’s exactly what we want from our forward players, and we want them to be able to look back at us and rely on us to do the dirty work behind them.”

Troost-Ekong was caught on TV rushing over to wave at Luton’s Gabriel Osho when he was shown a red card in the second half.

“I was sending him off with a wave, yeah, and telling him I hope he has a nice journey home!

“That’s what derby games are about. It was a horrible tackle, he deserved the red card and I just had to give him a good wave before he left.”