Quique Sanchez Flores delighted to see Watford pass Sunderland test with flying colours

Watford score the winning goal

Watford score the winning goal

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Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores was pleased to see his high-flying side overcome a 'difficult' test at Sunderland.

But he has warned his players they cannot afford to relax if they are to maintain their impressive start to life back in the Barclays Premier League.

Fabio Borini in action for Sunderland against Watford

Fabio Borini in action for Sunderland against Watford

The 1-0 win over the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light saw the Hornets climb to 7th in the table.

It has been an incredible season for Watford, with the initial target of securing the club's top-flight status now well within reach after racking up 25 points from their opening 16 games.

And Flores now wants to see his side add to their current tally as quickly as possible.

"That's the most important thing. We don't want to hear about 'relax,'" said Flores.

"I like the players to enjoy their day off and everything, but for us the most important thing is after two days to focus again, work hard every week and prepare for the next opponent.

"We are really pleased with performance of the players.

"We are completely focussed on the target and the level of confidence is very high. They are always thinking about how we can improve.

"My expectation before every single match is very high, but always the players come and to improve always."

Watford battered Sunderland into submission in a bruising opening 20 minute spell.

The Black Cats defence unable to cope with Watford's movement, with striker Odion Ighalo netting his 26th goal of the calendar year after just four minutes.

Replays showed defender Sebastian Coates may have had the final touch, with Sam Allardyce at least attributing the goal to Coates.

Sunderland, having switched to a flat-back four did launch a fightback.

But they couldn't breach a stubborn Watford defence, with sub Jermain Defoe carving out three good chances in the final 20 minutes, one of which was disallowed and another superbly stopped by Heurelho Gomes.

Flores was relieved to come away with all three points.

"It is not easy to play against Sunderland, they are a very tough team and made it difficult," added Flores.

"They have had a good run [recently], we were ready to play against a tough team.

"Our start in the first 25 minutes was really, really good, good possession and good attempts and after that, we lost different balls, we started playing in the middle passing just through the centre to the strikers.

"We opened the possibilities up to Sunderland and after that, it was difficult to get the result until the last moment."

Despite Defoe going close on three occassions, Watford could have made life easier for themselves too.

Ighalo was in on goal three times in the closing stages but failed to take advantage.

Boss Flores heaped praise on Watford's performance as a team post-match - with the manager keen to avoid raising expectation levels and increasing pressure on his side.

Flores added: "We are just thinking about the next match, thinking about the next opponent.

"We don't think about different targets.

"Always, we work hard and work on the positive side and that is why the players have high confidence and they can show everyone that they are working well.

"We are really pleased with the performance of the players, the players are very focused and we are always thinking about how we can improve.

"The performance of Ighalo was amazing, during the whole year, and not just this season.

"But I am really happy with the performance of the team too.

"He is playing for the collective and that is the main idea, every single player is very important.

"The work of the midfielders, the wingers, the defensive line.

"We are in this position because we work as a team."