Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka highlighted the quality of Watford’s strikers as the Hornets won a crucial promotion battle at Vicarage Road.
Watford took the lead when Troy Deeney converted Adlene Guedioura’s cross to become the first Watford player to score 20 goals in three successive seasons.
Boro rarely troubled Heurelho Gomes’s goal and conceded a second midway through the second half when Odion Ighalo fired home an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area.
“It’s frustrating because we played against a team which is in our same position but after the game you can feel and you can see the difference in both teams,” said Karanka.
“It’s easy for me to say we didn’t play well but we didn’t play well because we played against a team which, without a lot of chances, scored two goals and that’s the difference when you have three strikers who have scored more than 50 goals in a season.
“To play against teams like Watford, Bournemouth, who have been working with the same manager for four or five years, against Norwich players who were Premier League last season, so we are a team who are, for me, doing amazing.”
Watford: Gomes, Cathcart (Connolly 60), Angella, Hoban, Paredes, Guedioura (Layun 90), Tozser, Watson, Anya, Deeney, Ighalo (Vydra 69). Unused substitutes: Munari, Pudil, Abdi, Bond.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Tiendalli (Kalas 63), Woodgate, Amorebieta, Friend, Clayton (Forshaw 84), Leadbitter, Adomah, Tomlin (Garcia 62), Reach, Bamford. Unused substitutes: Gibson, Ripley, Whitehead, Vossen.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire).