Javi Gracia says Watford captain Troy Deeney is important to the club on and off the pitch

Watford boss Javi Gracia says he was proud of his players after a win over West Brom and had praise for captain Troy Deeney

Javi Gracia paid tribute to Watford captain Troy Deeney as he put a difficult season behind him to score the winner for the second time in two games.

Deeney struck the winning goal in the 1-0 win over West Brom, a week after doing the same against Everton at Vicarage Road, with two goals which have moved the Hornets ninth in the Premier League and all but assured their safety for next season.

It has not always been a happy season for the 29-year-old, who has missed seven games through suspension, has scored only four league goals and came close to leaving the club in January, but Gracia paid tribute to his captain.

He told Sky Sports: “Troy has scored two very important goals in two games, and I always say the captain is an important player on and off the pitch. I’m very happy for him.

“We got three important points in a tough game. It’s not easy to win back-to-back home games, and I’m proud of the players. I’m very pleased for the supporters and we will try to do the same next week against Arsenal.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but at the moment we are in a good place, are trying to enjoy it and improve day-by-day. It’s the best mentality to help us to get three points.”

Deeney was set-up by Will Hughes, who came off the bench following a three-month lay-off with injury, and was joined late on by Miguel Britos, another who has been on the treatment table for some time.

Going into tough back-to-back away games at Arsenal and Liverpool, Gracia said he was delighted to have increasing options in his squad for the Premier League run-in.

“Will has a lot of quality,” he said. “He can make passes like today, I’m happy for him. He has been injured for a long time, as Miguel Britos has been too, and I’m pleased because we’ve recovered two players who are important for us.

“There are more possibilities to choose players and for our selection. First of all, I’m happy for them because the players have been injured for a long time and to come back with the team is something special for them.”