Watford boss Gianfranco Zola aims to consolidate his side's position in the play-off places in 2013 after a convincing 3-1 victory at Brighton.

Two goals inside two minutes from striker Matej Vydra gave Watford a thoroughly-deserved victory following a goalless first half before a crowd of 26,727 at the Amex Stadium.

Troy Deeney put the Hornets ahead nine minutes after the break, but Spanish midfielder David Lopez pulled Brighton level 10 minutes later from the penalty spot after Tommie Hoban was penalised for bringing down Kazenga LuaLua.

Vydra restored Watford's advantage with a deflected shot before latching onto a through-ball from Deeney to fire the third with a classy finish.

Zola said: "Our target was to do better than last season (11th) and we need to maintain focus. We need to consolidate in this position. I didn't expect it to gel this quickly, which is good and positive. But the most important thing now is not to relax."

Zola heaped praise on two-goal striker Vydra, who is on loan from Udinese. He added: "Matej has matured a lot. He has shown a lot of quality in front of the keeper and worked very hard for the team, and especially against Liam Bridcutt in the Brighton midfield."

Zola hopes to secure several of his players, currently on loan, on permanent deals and added: "Officially they are with us on loan but they want to stay. They are very committed to us. They may have joined us at the last minute but they are enjoying what they are doing."

Brighton manager Gus Poyet revealed he was closer to signing the striker he is craving following his side's defeat. A target man with aerial power remains top of Poyet's shopping list in the January window and he said: "We are closer now. We are looking everywhere but it's not easy at this time of year. The problem is the market is not right."

Poyet felt his team "did not defend well" and that inside the box they were second best.

He added: "It was a typical game in that when you are on top, you need to score. We failed to take advantage and then it was too open. We tried to address it at half-time but then they scored. We were lucky to get back at 1-1 but it was the turning point. We were not the better team.