manager Steve Bruce felt his side were more convincing winners than the scoreline suggested after his Hull City side strengthened their pre-Christmas play-off push and ended Watford’s seven-game unbeaten run.
The Tigers were by far the better team in the first half and took the lead when David Meyler headed home after Corry Evans’s shot had rebounded off the crossbar.
Watford improved after the break and Almen Abdi hit a post before the Tigers doubled their lead through Robbie Brady’s 25-yard free-kick.
Nathaniel Chalobah could have set up an exciting finale had his shot not been cleared off the line, although the Hornets did score in stoppage time when Troy Deeney netted his seventh goal in six games.
Bruce said: “Watford in the second half were better but the first half I can’t really remember my goalkeeper having a touch of the ball and we’ve had two chances in the first three minutes which we’ve missed.
“But we knew Gianfranco’s (Zola) team would be different in the second half, they’re on a great run of form, but I think we were worthy winners. We could have been, and should have been out of sight.”
The win continued the Tigers’ upward movement in the Championship and their manager continued: “We’ve tried to play, we’ve tried to entertain. I’m delighted that the supporters are enjoying what they’re seeing.
“I’ve got some good players who have adapted very quickly in three or months to a different regime, a different manager, a different formation, a different style if you like, but I think they’re enjoying it.
“Certainly I’ve enjoyed working with them because they’re a very, very good group and let’s hope we can keep continuing.”
Opposite number Zola said: “I don’t see this as a step back, it’s just part of the journey. You can’t expect with our team to win all the games. Sometimes you lose and you learn something from it.”
Watford: Almunia, Hall (Geijo 78), Ekstrand (Anya 46), Hoban, Cassetti, Yeates, Hogg, Chalobah, Pudil (Abdi 65), Deeney, Vydra. Unused substitutes: Bonham, Thompson, Mujangi Bia, Battocchio.
Hull City: Stockdale, Chester, McShane (Hobbs 27), Bruce, Elmohamady, Evans, Quinn, Meyler, Brady (Proschwitz 83), Koren (Rosenior 74), Simpson. Unused substitutes: Jakupovic, Mclean, Cairney, Olofinjana.
Referee: M Haywood (W Yorkshire).
Man of the match: David Meyler.