This wasn’t the time to put in a pedestrian performance, not against a struggling rival in what was being billed a relegation cup final.
But Watford’s first-half showing was naive and mediocre, and it was a showing summed up perfectly by visibly fuming Nigel Pearson after the game.
“First half we let the game pass us by,” he told Sky Sports. “We had passengers which is disappointing at this stage of the season. It’s annoying. Very disappointing. It means now we have got to find another one or two good results.
“There’s no getting away from the fact this result is bitterly disappointing. I’d expect better from our players – that’s not to say everybody. It’s a really poor result for us.”
Most of their problems came down the flanks; Adam Masina was hooked at half-time, and Gary Neville described Kiko Femenia as “a footballer, not a defender”.
Watford had chances to get back into the game in the second half, but with Manchester City and Arsenal to come next to finish the season, a performance even half as bad as that will be punished severely.
Goal difference may have a say this season – there’s a real possibility three clubs could end up with 34 points – and Watford badly need to tighten up.
“In the warm-up I scored two bangers! Lads tell me to shoot more in training. Goals are something I need to add to my game.”
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