Boss Dean Smith has thrown down the survival gauntlet to Aston Villa after their last-gasp win over Watford.
Tyrone Mings’ winner – when Ezri Konsa’s drive hit his leg – in the fifth minute of stoppage time earned Villa a 2-1 victory which could have huge importance at the bottom of the table.
They trailed at the break to Troy Deeney’s header but Douglas Luiz hauled them level midway through the second half before the late drama.
The win lifted Villa out of the Premier League’s relegation zone and above the Hornets, who drop into the bottom three.
Smith’s side are now 16th, two points clear of Bournemouth, after taking four points off drop rivals Watford and Brighton in their last two games.
He said: “We have to keep concentrating on the next game. The next one in the Premier League is against Bournemouth – another team below us.
“Catching the teams above you and overtaking them, that’s the players’ job at the moment. Teams of mine finish the season better and I’m expecting a better points haul in the second half.
“It’s the biggest win at this moment because it’s the latest one. We have to concentrate on each game.
“With Watford being around us and giving us a good hiding at their place I said before the game it would be a different Villa team they faced.
“It was an important one because Villa Park is an important place for us in this league.”
Defeat ended Watford’s six-game revival which had seen Nigel Pearson haul them off the bottom of the table.
They looked like continuing their run when Deeney gave them the lead seven minutes before the break, heading in Gerard Deulofeu’s cross.
Pepe Reina’s save denied Deeney a second after the break and Luiz levelled after 68 minutes, following up after Ben Foster parried Matt Targett’s shot.
But Villa snatched victory in injury time when, after Watford failed to deal with a deep free-kick, the ball ran to Konsa and his strike clipped Mings on the floor to find the corner.
Konsa had the news broken to him Sky Sports that he was not to be credited with the goal – he joked that he was “heartbroken” while Mings added: “The three points is the most important thing – but once you’ve got the three points, it’s also nice to score!”
Smith, who also confirmed he expects new signing Mbwana Samatta to have his visa by the end of the week, added: “I’m not sure what part of (Mings’) anatomy it came off but he’s certainly claiming it, unlucky for Ezri.”
The Hornets now sit second bottom, in the relegation zone on goal difference, but boss Pearson kept defeat in perspective.
“I think we’re a bit unlucky but that’s life and we’ll deal with it,” he said.
“It’s easy to reflect on performances when things go your way, we’ve been a bit unlucky.
“Tonight is a disappointing situation, the players have shown an incredible amount of resolve and commitment to get the right results.
“It’s not always going to be a positive outcome and providing the players always show the right intent in games and show commitment then that’s going to be the most important thing moving forward.
“We had a couple of opportunities to maybe extend the lead and that didn’t quite happen for us.
“A draw would have been a relatively fair result. There are going to be setbacks and tonight’s one of them, it’s important we deal with it pretty quickly.”
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