Liam Manning promised that his Bristol City side will get even better after their 4-1 victory at Watford.
The Robins thoroughly deserved their triumph, their third straight win under former Oxford boss Manning, who arrived at Ashton Gate last month.
It was also their first on the road under Manning, and City’s first back-to-back triple since November 2020.
Manning said: “We’re going in the right direction but I told the players afterwards that we can play better than that.
“That’s what excites me about the group. The challenge is to strive every day to improve, but there were so many positives today.
“Three or four weeks ago, I was giving interviews saying how it would come together for us, and it would happen.
“I’m delighted for the players. They’ve stayed level and grounded, they haven’t got too flat when we’ve lost or super high when we’ve won, and that’s the most important bit – head down and work hard.
“The game plan worked, I’m very fortunate to have a staff who are as obsessive and intense as me.
“They put a lot of hours in to create what we want to do. And huge credit goes to the players in the way they implement it.”
That game plan saw City go ahead in the 28th minute. Watford midfielder Edo Kayembe’s attempt to head clear from Taylor Gardner-Hickman’s free-kick fell straight to Cameron Pring, who hammered home.
Then, two minutes into first-half added time, Watford skipper Wesley Hoedt put Tommy Conway’s cross into his own goal – without a City player anywhere near.
Substitute Giorgi Chakvetadze narrowed the lead four minutes into the second half, only for Mark Sykes to make it 3-1 almost from the restart.
City replacement Andreas Weimann killed off the game with City’s fourth in the 83rd minute against his former side as Watford stood vainly waiting for the offside flag after the Austrian had been set free by Joe Williams’ pass.
Watford boss Valerien Ismael had been hoping to see his side break into the top six, but he said: “It’s a big disappointment.
“We gave the game away from the first minute. We made too many mistakes, which made it difficult to give a fluid display.
“What summed up the match was when he came back into it at 2-1 and then conceded. That was sloppy. We beat ourselves. We have to take control of the ball more.
“We have to always stay on a level where we can win the game. But against City we beat ourselves – it’s as simple as that.
“We never had control. Fatigue is no excuse – it’s the same for every team. We know we have the solution, but on the other hand we must make sure that everyone can perform at the correct level.”
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