Vladimir Ivic has challenged his Watford players to prove that they belong in his first-team ahead of their first competitive fixture under the new coach.

In the Serbian’s first press conference since arriving in the summer, Ivic said no player was guaranteed a starting place, even those who have grown used to being selected in recent years, and instead said he was looking for the players who work hard and show their desire to be a part of his side.

“Nobody told me from the club that some of the players have it in their contract that they must play,” he said. “Which means that they must work hard, they must show that they want to play. I’m a coach and like every coach in the world, I choose the best players who can give us a result in that moment. It’s just hard work, it’s just being focused and day-by-day fight for your position and when you’re in the side you need to be more concentrated to keep your position.

“It depends on them. They are players for Watford FC, they belong to Watford FC, they have a contract and if they want to work hard, if they want to be part of the team, they are welcome, each of them is welcome to come back. I don’t have a problem with no one.

“I’m here less than one month and I worked with all these guys who worked with me from the first day. If they’re with us, we’ll work together, without this, we cannot work.”

Ivic has assured his players that they will all get a chance to impress due to the rigorous schedule they are about to begin, with two games a week likely to be the norm this season.

He hopes his players can show their quality and take their chances.

“We have a lot of competition, we have a lot of games here and sure I want to have a lot of players who can participate during the game,” he said. “When we start to play from Friday, after we have a game on Tuesday, after it’s Saturday again. All of them will have time to play, all of them will have time to show their quality. It depends on them. On their attitude, on their quality, that’s who will play.

“It’s part of the job. This is a part of the job for a manager, you need to find a way to work with this number of players in the same position. It’s not easy, but I will try to take from all of them the best and who will be the best, he will play. We have a lot of games, all of them will have time to show their quality.”

Something that will impress the new head coach is discipline, an attribute he feels is key to Watford’s chances of promotion.

He has already starting working with his players on their focus in preparation for Friday’s game.

“Without discipline you cannot succeed, this is my philosophy,” he said. “When I speak about discipline, I speak about discipline on the pitch. You cannot play how you want, you need to play for the team and we worked during the previous days and last week on how we want to play and what we want to do. All of the players are all in the team and they need to follow this.

“You need to have discipline on the pitch, in the dressing room, this is normal in a football club.”