Since returning to Watford on loan, Emmanuel Dennis has averaged 45 minutes of football across his 12 league and cup appearances.

He’s scored four goals in that time, and he followed up a predatory strike at Birmingham with a goal against Leeds that was full of the ebullient flair that was a hallmark of his previous stint at Vicarage Road.

However, the striker is nursing a groin problem and Tom Cleverley said he will have to balance the need for the threat Dennis poses on the pitch with a preparedness to steer him through the coming weeks.

The interim head coach also pointed out that as well as the skill and talent he possesses, Dennis also has good mental strength.

“He had a good chance after we scored, but he responded well and he’s got good mental strength to take his goal so well after missing one before,” Cleverley said.

“He’s an explosive and exciting player. He’s someone who I played with and you can see he’s got some outstanding attributes.

“I thought his all-round performance tonight was a real complete one.

“He’s nursing a groin issue that we have to be careful with, and we’ll make sure he recovers to go again on Monday.

“Taking him off was a little bit precautionary. I could see he was stretching it, and we don’t want to make the issue any bigger of a problem than it is.

“If he can give us an hour of the quality of performance he did tonight in every game, then he’s in a good place.

“We’ll just need to manage that small issue from now until the end of the season.”

Another player Cleverley played alongside before he retired was fellow midfielder Tom Dele-Bashiru, and he had words of praise for his performance against Leeds.

“He was fantastic. I’ve been really, really impressed by him,” said Cleverley.

“From the player I left 18 months ago to the player I see now, he’s really coming on.

“In training and in the games Tom has been really impressive. He’s someone I’m excited to work with.”

The switch of formation seemed to bring the best out of Jamal Lewis.

“It was a massive performance from Jamal,” said the Watford boss.

“He’s been a real strong voice, and he’s surprised me with how much of a vocal leader he is among the group.

“His communication on the pitch is very good, and he really helps the younger players.

“I was really impressed with him tonight.”