Ismael felt Watford lacked confidence due to lack of chances

Whether you were at the game or looking at the stats, the efforts to salvage a point after Millwall had gone ahead were pretty powderpuff.

Having 66% of the possession counts for very little when you muster only three on-target goal attempts, none of which forced anything more than the most routine of saves from home keeper Matija Sarkic.

Did Valerien Ismael feel, at any point, that his Watford side were actually going to score?

“I think that the second half was much better. We had momentum at the beginning of the second half but we didn’t create that chance,” he said.

“When you create chances then you get that feeling that the team have confidence.

“Our momentum was good but maybe our game management was not so good. We maybe needed to put the balls straight into the box.

“The young players try to play but then we lose the ball and then Millwall have the ball for three or four minutes.

“We needed to change the momentum so that we were on the ball for three or four minutes.

“The finer details are the things we need to work on, but they don’t change the result for us tonight.”

Having been particularly inept against Huddersfield last week, this performance was better. But when you set the bar that low, it would be almost impossible not to get above it.

“At the minute it was better than last week, a slight improvement. But it was not enough to get the points,” said Ismael.

“Throughout the 90 minutes we were not intimidated by the environment.

“I think we were solid. We raised the performance from last week and were unlucky with a deflected free kick.

“The only thing we had said was to withstand the first 15 or 20 minutes. We knew the most powerful energy in the game would be then after their win last week with the new manager.

“We were prepared for that but unfortunately we conceded a goal exactly then.

“After that I think Millwall didn’t have a chance to score but we didn’t have the last idea in the last third with the last passes to get a chance to score.

“We were under control and focussed on ourselves, and the performance for this kind of away game was good.

“But it doesn’t help us a lot at the minute because you need to win games, especially in this period of the season.”

Giving away a free kick, picking up a yellow card and then conceding another free kick which led to the only goal, all inside the first two minutes, smacked of some naivety.

“I think the referee didn’t help a lot because we had a situation where the Millwall player did exactly the same and didn’t get booked until the third or fourth time,” said the Watford boss.

“The first foul we committed we got booked for and that makes it very different for our player to go into duels.

“It was difficult in those circumstances to deal with that first booking, but as you say to then concede the goal like that when you are not actually in the game, then you have to manage it.

“We had enough time to come back into the game, but the final bit we missed. There was a shot in the first half from Yaser, one in the second half from Bayo, but we were not as dangerous as usual.”

For the sixth successive game Ryan Andrews was on the bench, although this afternoon the right-back slot was filled by Jeremy Ngakia, his first senior game in four months.

“Ngakia was always the number one in that position since I was here,” explained Ismael.

“He got injured but he has a positive energy and has come back really strong, and we saw today a great performance after a long period of time.

“We need to manage him now, but he is a very important player for us.”

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