Watford may be 12 points clear of the Premier League relegation zone with six games to play but Walter Mazzarri was still refusing to admit his side were safe after their 1-0 victory over Swansea.
Etienne Capoue's goal just before half-time was enough to seal a third win in four games and all but guarantee a third successive season in the top flight, but the Hornets boss wants no let up in intensity from his players.
He said: "No, until the maths and the numbers says then we are not safe. I always say that we try to reach the maximum we can and we have to do this for the next games. This is also the mentality that I want to give to my players for next year.”
In light of all Watford’s injury problems this season, Mazzarri did concede: “With what has happened this season, to have 40 points with six games to go is a very good record.
"I also want to thank (Adrian) Mariappa and (Christian) Kabasele and the players that have played less games because they have been great.”
Mariappa justified keeping his place in the starting XI with an assured performance at the heart of the defence, helping his side keep a third clean sheet in four games, and his head coach admitted: “[He was] Very good. He’s surprised me as well with his feet, with everything.
“He’s a very intelligent player. In Italy we’d say he’s like a sponge because everything I say to him, he catches it and then he performs it on the pitch. Even today with [dealing with] (Fernando) Llorente, he was perfect.”
Another to impress in a yellow shirt was Abdoulaye Doucuoure, who continues to grow in his role at the base of the midfield, breaking up play and helping to start attacks.
“He’s a very young player and he keeps improving game by game,” said Mazzarri. “I’m very, very happy with him. The only thing that he can still improve is the attention on the defensive phase, but he’s a very good player with a lot of potential.”
However, the Hornets boss disagreed with the suggestion his side lost their way to an extent after switching to three at the back in the second half, although the home side did have a second goal disallowed for offside when Stefano Okaka volleyed home shortly after coming off the bench.
“I don’t agree because at a certain point in the second half they were playing with two strikers and a number 10 so they were very offensive so I needed to make some changes in the defence," he explained. "As I did it, it was also at the time when they were very dangerous. When I did it, it changed a little bit.
"When I made the changes it’s also the moment when we could have closed the game with Okaka, which was just a little bit offside. Actually I think the changes helped to deal with the offensive side from Swansea but also to close the game."