Nigel Pearson has warned that the hard work is not over at Watford, despite hauling the club out of the Premier League drop zone.
The Hornets host Tottenham at Vicarage Road in Saturday’s lunchtime fixture as one of the top-flight’s in-form teams.
Indeed, only Liverpool and Manchester City have scored more points than the 13 Watford have accrued from 18 available during Pearson’s impressive tenure.
The Hornets appeared doomed to the Championship following a miserable start to the campaign, and the sackings of both Javi Gracia and Quique Sanchez Flores.
But Pearson, the architect of Leicester’s Great Escape in 2015, has turned the club’s fortunes around.
Watford were 10 points away from safety when he took over in December, but now sit one point and one place above the relegation zone ahead of Spurs’ visit.
Yet Pearson, who has installed a new-found discipline at Watford, has told his squad they must not take their form for granted.
“I sense that some people possibly think that the hard work is over, but it is certainly not,” said Pearson.
“We have given ourselves a more realistic chance but that is all it is.
“I am glad to be back in the Premier League and I am enjoying the challenge. But I am also a realist so I am certainly not getting into a situation where I am comfortable.
“I know there will be setbacks along the way and we have got to be able to deal with the setbacks as they come.”
Watford will climb to 14th if they beat a side who head into Saturday’s fixture with just one victory from their previous five league outings.
Harry Kane continues to be absent for Tottenham who have won only one of their last seven league matches without their influential marksman.
“Of course, there is a possibility to win,” said Pearson, who could hand a debut to Ignacio Pussetto following his £7million arrival from Udinese this week.
“Whenever you play one of the bigger sides in this league you know even when they don’t have key players available that they have got plenty of quality throughout the squad.
“It is about us concentrating on our own game plan and making sure we understand what our opponents are about and playing as near to our maximum as possible. If we do that we have got a chance.
“We have coped with the pressure of the big games. The work we have put in in recent weeks and the results we have been able to achieve are down to the application and attitude of the players.
“Yes, we have got some good individuals, but the collective, the team spirit and the work ethic has been excellent. That is the most important thing for us.”