Watford striker Troy Deeney is targeting three points at the Stadium of Light on Saturday – to set the Hornets up for a testing festive programme.
Quique Sánchez Flores’s newly-promoted Watford side have claimed successive victories over Aston Villa and Norwich to climb into 10th place in the Premier League, with 22 points on the board already.
Now Sunderland, back down to second-bottom spot following last weekend’s defeat at Arsenal, are in their sights – and Deeney, who has notched in each of the last two matches for Watford, expects the Black Cats to play a counter-attacking style, even on home soil.
Marksman Deeney said: “I don’t think Sunderland will try and dominate us.
“They will try and hit us on the counter-attack, so we’ve got to be cute and clever and make sure we get the three points.
“Everyone knows how hard our Christmas period is, so if we get the three wins in a row next weekend, it kind of gives us three games over that period where we can just enjoy them.
“But as a team we are on 22 points now and it’s not even Christmas, so I think that’s a fantastic start.”
Deeney was proud of a hard-earned Vicarage Road win over Norwich last weekend, recalling: “The wind was terrible so we couldn’t get the ball down and play, which meant we had to do all the ugly stuff well.
“Obviously we beat Villa last week and to beat Norwich too is a massive step forward. It means we go into Sunderland with confidence, and if we win all three, then that’s going to put a big gap between us and the teams below us.
“So it was a really important victory and nice for me and Odion to score, but everyone from back to front deserves credit.”
Meanwhile, Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes saluted his hard-working defence for their efforts in shutting out the Canaries.
“I’m very pleased with my defence, they were all excellent,” the 34-year-old former Tottenham keeper told watfordfc.com
“Miguel (Britos), Craig (Cathcart), Nathan (Ake) and Allan (Nyom) were excellent – it’s great to have those players in front of you.
“We had to be tight and compact to stop them opening us up, and we were great. I’m really happy to have another clean sheet.
“I believe this was more than three points.
“They’re a team that will be fighting with us. It was a great game, a great win in difficult conditions with the wind, and we must continue to do just that.
“We have a very busy Christmas period, we need to get as many points as we can now. I believe the win against Villa was great, and this one was too because they are tough opponents.”