Will Hughes saluted match-winner Gerard Deulofeu for making the difference for below-par Watford in their 2-1 win at Huddersfield.
Deulofeu gave the Hornets a flying start with a superb opener before his 11th goal of the season – and fourth in his last two appearances – sealed the points deep in the second half.
Javier Garcia’s side were made to work hard for all three points at the John Smith’s Stadium and Karlan Grant headed Huddersfield’s stoppage-time consolation.
“We weren’t at our best, we weren’t at the level we should be, but it helps when we’ve got players like Deulofeu on the team who can do a bit of magic and finish the game for us,” Hughes told Press Association Sport.
“We’ve got to be better than that, but Huddersfield gave it everything. They’re relegated and have nothing to lose, but we’ve got to improve going forward.”
Deulofeu’s opener was reminiscent of his brilliant first goal for Watford in their FA Cup semi-final win against Wolves earlier this month.
Abdoulaye Doucoure was denied by Terence Kongolo’s last-ditch tackle and Deulofeu struck from the rebound, taking his time to pick his spot and curl home a fine finish inside the far post.
“He’s got an interesting technique and when he connects with it it’s really nice to see,” Hughes said.
“It’s not an easy technique to perfect and it doesn’t often go wrong for him to be fair. He’s been brilliant again and proved his worth to us.”
Watford are on course to achieve their highest-ever Premier League finish and take on Manchester City next month in the FA Cup final.
“It couldn’t be going much better at the moment,” Hughes added. “The FA Cup final at Wembley and seventh place, which I think is the highest we can be – the best of the rest.
“There’s a big gap between seventh place and the top six, so that’s our aim, to finish as high as possible and not take our eye off that. The final is not a distraction.”
Huddersfield have lost 11 of their 12 games under boss Jan Siewert, while their 14th home defeat of the season equalled Sunderland’s unwanted Premier League record set in 2002/03 and 2004/05.
The Terriers’ fans continued to do all they could to lift their relegated side and forward Elias Kachunga said he has been surprised by their fervent support.
“Yeah, of course,” Kachunga said. “But the supporters are not stupid. They know where we have come from.
“We tried to give everything, especially in the second half. They saw it on the pitch. This is why they are staying behind us.
“When they see we don’t give everything on the pitch, then they don’t give this atmosphere. Well done again to the supporters. They gave us massive support again and we are thankful for that.”