Watford manager Xisco Munoz hailed an “amazing performance” from Andre Gray after the striker netted twice in a 2-0 win against Wycombe.
Victory moves the Hornets level on points with second-placed Brentford but with an inferior goal difference.
Gray scored his first goals since early November, and Munoz was quick to defend his player against criticism.
He said: “Sometimes when you have injuries or red cards, I’m lucky because I have a good squad.
“Today Gray was back and he gave us these amazing goals. It was an amazing performance by him.
“I’m happy because he works every day on this. It’s a good problem to have with all these players.
“I don’t know what is being said about Gray but we need to give everyone our support, he has made mistakes in the past but I’m very pleased for him.
“I know how hard he has worked every day to help the team.”
Wycombe remain rooted to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship and boss Gareth Ainsworth was unhappy with his side.
He said: “We’re fighting on and if I’m honest we didn’t do ourselves justice enough.
“I’m disappointed that we were below par away at Watford, one of the top teams in the league. You’re going to get punished.
“They’ve got some tremendous talent in this team, really good players.
“It shows the strength in depth in this league, it shows the gulf, especially at the top of the table.
“We’ll be fighting again and I’ll be picking the boys up tomorrow, but today we just fell short.”