From a team that found a variety of ways to lose away games to one that is currently unbeaten in six matches on the road, the transformation in Watford on their travels has been markedly and enjoyably obvious.

The Hornets spent the second half of last season looking like they had almost constant travel sickness, and things weren’t much better at the start of this campaign.

The bottom of the barrel appeared to have been hit when they limply rolled over at Sunderland in early October, a particularly long and painful journey for anyone who witnessed the performance.

After that game, Valerien Ismael and his staff and players spent an hour talking in the dressing room, three days later they ground out a draw at Cardiff and – since then – Watford have taken 18 of 27 points on offer on the road.

“The night at Sunderland was definitely a key moment in our season, I can definitely say that,” Ismael admitted.

“After that game, when the players spoke in the changing room, I had a clear view on their mindset and the deep problem we had.

“I knew straight away we had to work on something very deep, and then we built on that week after week.

“We found the problem, we solved the problem, and then we moved onto the next step which was preparing ourselves to compete."

What went on behind the scenes to turn Watford’s away-day blues around?

“It was just a case of creating that mentality where we believe in ourselves,” said the head coach.

“Maybe we also had to take some decisions about what were the right things for the team in different situations, and to then adapt.

“At some point you find the formula around the team and you keep going.

“When it’s right for the second time, the third time, the fourth time, then the players believe and also see that we are still improving.

“They believe in themselves, they believe in the team, and you just keep creating that environment.

“Above all else, it is about getting wins. When you win, it cements everything.”

That new-found resilience away from Vicarage Road will be tested during this run of six games in 18 days, four of which are road trips.

“We can only focus on ourselves. We can’t change anything with the schedule,” said the Watford boss.

“The only thing we can control is our own mindset and the way we approach the game.

“You can complain, or you can take it as it is and try to take advantage of the situation.

“Our big advantage is we are almost at a full squad with full availability.”

One plus point has been that the Hornets have been able to absorb the absence of players.

Edo Kayembe was a stand-out performer before he headed off to the African Cup of Nations and subsequently headed home with an injury.

However, Watford have not lost any of the four games he has missed so far.

“This is what we wanted to create with the way we play, and everyone understanding our principals,” said Ismael.

“You need to give the feeling to the players that if someone is missing then the next player to get a chance will be them.

“This is a great thing for us because everyone in the squad feels important and the team is not depending on one player.

“When I came in there was a shift in the mindset, because over the years Watford was known for individuality and individual players who made the difference.

“If a player wanted to play then Watford win the game – if not, then they have less success.

“We wanted to change that so that we are more unpredictable for our opponents, and so that we come with team spirit and attitude of ‘team first’.

“That is what we have created."