Brighton head coach Graham Potter credited opposite number Xisco Munoz for the work he has done with Watford before the two sides meet on Saturday.
Watford started life back in the Premier League in startling fashion, downing Aston Villa 3-2, though two late goals for Dean Smith’s men may have flattered slightly.
Brighton welcomed the new top-flight term in with a win, too, recording a 2-1 comeback victory away at Burnley.
Impressed by Watford’s performance, Graham Potter hailed the progression that Munoz has overseen with the newly-promoted Hornets.
“(Watford) are very strong. They might be newly promoted, but it wasn’t so long ago that they were in the FA Cup final and finishing in a good position in the Premier League,” said Potter.
“They have some high-quality players and it’s not like they are not used to this level.
“They’ve created an identity and a clarity of playing that suits the players they have, they’ve done really well and will be tough opposition for us.”
The Seagulls are looking to collect back-to-back wins in their opening two games for the first time since 2015-16, having achieved the feat in the Championship.
However, Munoz’s men stand in the way of that record and the visitors’ head coach insists his team must carry their momentum forward.
“We need to continue with this attitude, the attitude was brilliant and if we play like this we will win more games,” the 40-year-old stated before the trip to the Amex Stadium.
“We are more comfortable at home because we play with our people and they will help us, but now is the moment to have this mentality.
“When we play away we need to play with the same passion and ambition to take the points. The team knows the important situations in the game.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brighton and Hove Albion – Neal Maupay
Neal Maupay scored against Burnley last time out, ending a run of six Premier League games without a goal for the Frenchman. He’s looking to score in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2020, while his first ever goal in the competition came against Watford in August 2019.
Watford – Ismaila Sarr
Ismaila Sarr has scored five goals in his last six league appearances for Watford and is looking to score in three consecutive league games for the Hornets for the very first time.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·Brighton have never lost a home match against Watford in the top-flight (W1 D3), with just five goals scored in total in these four matches (three Brighton, two Watford).
·The home side has won just three of the last 13 league meetings between Brighton and Watford (D6 L4), including none of the last three such matches between the sides since a 2-0 Watford win at Vicarage Road in August 2018.
·Brighton ended last season with a run of five consecutive unbeaten home Premier League games, only once enjoying a run of six without defeat at the AMEX in the division, doing so between September and November 2017 under Chris Hughton.
·Watford lost their last six away Premier League matches in the 2019-20 season, with only Norwich (6) earning fewer away points in the division that season than the Hornets (10). They last lost seven in a row in the top-flight in their final seven away games in 2016-17 under Walter Mazzarri.
·Only Manchester City (20) have won more league games in England’s top four tiers so far in 2021 than Watford (18).