Troy Deeney recognised Watford had been “poor” and could easily have lost after they survived significant pressure to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 victory at QPR.
Javi Gracia’s team moved to within one victory of reaching the final four at Wembley after being outplayed, scoring a fortunate goal through Etienne Capoue and then seeing their Championship hosts squander enough chances to build a convincing lead.
QPR had lost their five previous league fixtures, but, after making five changes to a winning team, Watford struggled and were consistently stretched.
Deeney told BT Sport: “We were poor in the first half, but had that bit of quality to score.
“We were in control, but weren’t dominating or doing what we wanted to. We were sloppy at times. The character showed at the end with the way everyone dug in.
“We don’t want to lose. We need to keep giving these performances. We are not playing that well, but are grinding it out. In older days we might have lost.”
Gracia rested Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Adrian Mariappa and Gerard Deulofeu, having made 11 changes for victories over Woking and Newcastle in the third and fourth rounds.
He said: “It wasn’t our best game. But we knew before it would be very demanding to defend well, with long balls, second balls, set-pieces.
“Playing against QPR we have suffered a lot. So playing against a Premier League or a Championship team (in the quarter-finals) will very demanding.
“We are playing away a lot (in cup competitions). I want to play at home (in the next round).”