Four clean sheets in five games has played a significant part in Watford’s steady climb up the table, and defender Wes Hoedt has been a pivotal figure in that sequence.

The Dutchman captained the side against Rotherham in the absence in Dan Bachmann, and also showed a delightful set of skills late in the second half with a couple of drag-backs and turns inside his own half.

However he was also quick to point out the goalscoring return to the starting line-up of Mileta Rajovic, whose two first-half goals gave the Hornets control of the game.

“He came in from Swedish football, which was very different to the Championship,” said Hoedt.

“Everybody needs time to settle. The physicality of the Championship is way different to what he was used to.

“Now he has scored six, a decent return, and that should give him the confidence that will back him to score more goals.

“He’s improving a lot. I told him in the dressing room that he did well, but we can still help him with the build-up play by keeping the ball.”

Rajovic was quite comfortably the most expensive of Watford’s summer signings, and Hoedt said he knew fans may have found the lack of transfer activity in the summer hard to accept.

“The club made a decision to point towards a group process rather than individuals,” he said.

“That was a tough decision to make because people have come to expect seeing top players at Watford.

“It was a difficult task for the gaffer to completely switch the attitude.”

When he talks of an attitude change, Hoedt is happy to explain further he found when he signed.

“I came into the club last season during the winter transfer window and there were a lot of little irritations with players coming in late and focussing on the wrong stuff,” he said.

“Slowly, but progressively, we’re changing this and this is all credit to the club and the gaffer and the team.

“We lost three games in a row earlier in the season, so we stuck our heads together and said ‘We can’t go forward like this, we need to be professional, we need to be demanding more from each other’. That’s paying off right now.

“We are six games unbeaten, but that’s in the past. We need to recharge, have a few days off and then come back together. Then it’s up to us to show how great the progress really is.”

One of Hoedt’s former clubs, is on the horizon for him as the Saints visit Vicarage Road on December 9.

“When I look back at my time at Southampton, I just wasn’t fully ready and physically grown enough,” he admits.

“I was 22, I’d had two great years in Italy and I was starting in the Dutch national team.

“Then Southampton came in with an offer from the Premier League, which is the biggest league in the world. I couldn’t refuse.

“Now it’s up to me - I really want to have a second chance in the Premier League.

“I want to show that I’ve grown because now physically I’m way more competitive and I could be a great asset to many teams.

“I need to show consistency and I was rewarded today with the captain’s armband. I still I need to make progress in the respect by being helpful to the others in the team as well as demanding.”