Tom Cleverley says Watford want to prove the doubters wrong after his superb volley against Crystal Palace moved them up to seventh in the Premier League table.
Cleverley netted just six minutes after he was introduced as a second-half substitute at Selhurst Park as the Hornets completed a 2-1 fightback.
Watford have now secured more points on the road than they did in the entirety of last season and could be forgiven for having one eye on qualifying for Europe.
Cleverley’s 74th-minute winner also came on the second anniversary of the death of the club’s former manager and chairman, Graham Taylor, whose name was sung throughout by the travelling supporters.
“Graham was a massive figure here, so it’s a proud moment for me, that I could give the fans a good day out on what’s quite a sad day for the club,” said Cleverley.
“West Ham won against Arsenal earlier in the day and we knew we wanted to jump back above them.
“We want to prove a lot of people wrong, kick on again, and go on a run to finish as high as we possibly can.”
It has been a troubling year for former England international Cleverley after he missed the final four months of last season with a hamstring injury before an operation on a long-standing Achilles issue delayed his comeback.
Cleverley has featured just four times in the league for the Hornets this term, but, after playing 90 minutes in the FA Cup against Woking, and then coming off the bench to win three points at Palace, is now keen to force his way back into Javi Gracia’s side.
“It’s been a tough year and to score the winner in an important game feels like a lot of the hard work has paid off,” he added.
“I’ve just got to keep doing the right things and, even though I’m back fit now, I’ve got to be patient as the lads in my position have been doing fantastically.
“The most important thing is the win, but for me personally it’s a really big reward for what’s been a tough year.”
For Palace, striker Christian Benteke returned to action from the bench following his four-month injury lay-off.
And, while manager Roy Hodgson wants to bolster the club’s attacking options in January – his side have scored just six times at home this season – he conceded it will not be easy.
“We don’t have a massive pot of gold or a treasure chest to go out and choose players from all over the world,” he said.
“We are in a different market to that and we are looking for players who are available on a free transfer or are perhaps available to loan.”
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