William Troost-Ekong believes Watford's recent form is the result of some frank and honest discussions held between the players after a short winless run.

Following two goalless away draws against Millwall and Coventry that fell either side of only the Hornets' second home defeat of the season, against QPR, things were not looking good for their promotion hopes.

That was when the Nigerian spearheaded some tough conversations that questioned the team's attitude and togetherness.

Those conversations, coupled with a change in formation, have set Watford on the right path and they now find themselves nine points clear in third place, only six points behind Norwich in first, with just seven games remaining.

Speaking to the club website, Troost-Ekong explained just why he felt it was so important to have more honesty among the players.

“That was the key week for our season,” he said. “I felt that it wasn't good enough, from how we played to the general feeling and the attitude of the team. We were negative and everyone was complaining. We looked like 11 islands instead of a team. We have the quality, but we were not pulling in the same direction. I was driving home from the stadium and I called some of the boys and asked them what they thought.

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“Everyone had the same idea and we got in a room and had it out. Everyone was honest and said what they thought. If you can't be honest with each other and not sugar coat stuff, then you aren't going to make changes. After that, the attitude changed in the team. The senior boys agreed with what I said and we changed, to play as a team and to leave it all out there. I was happy everyone agreed and we got it moving from there.”

Watford go into tomorrow's game against Middlesbrough looking to claim a seventh consecutive win and an 11th win from 12 matches, with a difficult defeat away at Bournemouth the only blemish since the players held those meetings.

Their last victory over Sheffield Wednesday was far from attractive, but Troost-Ekong believes those are the results that could be the difference between automatic promotion or a place in the playoffs.

“These kind of games are the ones that hopefully get you promoted," he said.

"They are not as beautiful as a 6-0 at home and we had our luck with the goal, but you earn your luck and we worked hard for that.

"We did well to control the game. Sheffield Wednesday had the ball a lot and played good football, but they weren't that dangerous apart from one big chance.”