It was a refreshing to see Watford start a home game with attacking intent, even if they ultimately didn’t end up beating Leeds.

The very fact they wanted to take the game to a side that had won 12 of its last 13 Championship fixtures said a lot about the mindset and approach that Tom Cleverley wants to adopt.

“Everyone wants to play front-foot football but you have to be structured in behind, especially against teams like Leeds,” he said.

“If you’re a bit gung-ho they can slice you open, so I thought tonight was much more structured than the Birmingham game.

“We looked a really controlled team tonight and it gives me a lot of encouragement.

“It was something we addressed when I took over, can we get a system where we can get some support at the top end of the pitch.

“We wanted to get numbers in the box when the ball is out wide.

“There has been a lot of work go into this, and it ticks a lot of boxes.

“Whether it’s the long-term answer I don’t know yet and we’ll try and work that out, but for this game it worked extremely well.”

Cleverley admitted that stepping into the head coach role with only nine games left makes it difficult to implement huge changes.

“It’s difficult, in a short period of time, to get consistency of how you want to play. That is more of a pre-season task,” he said.

“For now my job is to create a plan in order to try and win every game from now until the end of the season.

“I thought we did that well today, and the players carried out the plan we had and absolutely nailed it.”

As well as a more attack-minded approach, there was a change of shape with three central defenders.

“It gives us another option and I thought the three centre-backs were outstanding,” said Cleverley.

“We’ve got the personnel to play that shape, and I thought it was the right team to do it against with how high their full-backs play.

“They pretty much play with a front five so we basically matched that up.

“It’s not as simple as that, obviously because there’s a lot of side-to-side shuffling and it’s a lot of physical work for that back five.

“But I thought we did it really well and just tired a little bit towards the end.

“Playing with that much intensity and focus does take its toll.

“Against another team we’d probably hold on today, but when you’ve got players like Summerville – who I think is an absolutely outstanding player – then I don’t point any fingers at Ryan Andrews, because he’s played against Leeds’ best player.

“They’re going to have their moments with players like that in the team.”

Having the international break after the win at Birmingham was something Cleverley was happy about, and the benefit of having an extended period to work with the players on the training pitch shone through against Leeds.

“I thought the work we’ve put in over the last two weeks showed today, with how well the players carried out the game plan,” Cleverley said.

“It was a tough ask coming up against Leeds, but I thought we showed we can more than compete at this level.

“That’s my job between now and the end of the season, to help people leave at the end of the season thinking we’ve got a promotion push in us next season.”