Beppe Sannino insists the Watford dressing room is united but admits the side did lack leadership on the pitch during certain parts of the season.
The Hornets’ Championship campaign was one of contrasts. Their home form under Sannino was impressive but they struggled away from Vicarage Road and ended the season with only four league victories on the road.
However, Watford remained in the play-off chase until a 2-1 defeat at Queens Park Rangers ended their hopes with three matches remaining.
What followed were three abject performances against Derby County, Charlton Athletic and Huddersfield Town.
Sannino questioned his side’s passion and commitment. Supporters questioned whether the Italian still had the backing of his players.
“I believe it’s a united dressing room,” Sannino said last week as he reflected on his first season in English football. “The problem is not the unity because this group is a motivated group and a group that wants to work.
“Imagine that, in the last ten days of the season, we were able to get one win. These sorts of questions wouldn’t then be asked.
“The way we finished the season meant that it was judged differently.”
Watford ended the campaign in 13th place in the Championship and 12 points off the play-off positions.
While the four defeats at the end of the season will be highlighted, the primary reason the Hornets missed out on a top-six place was their tendency to concede goals in the final stages of matches.
Sannino believes that, in part, was down to a lack of experience and leadership amongst the Watford side. He explained: “I think if you have a big squad with different players and different personalities, this can help the younger players.
“What I am looking for is a squad to have leadership, not just from certain players.
“If you are an experienced player it doesn’t mean you have a big personality, I believe that is something you are born with.
“I think in certain parts of the season and in some games it could have helped. We could have done better and managed situations better on the pitch.
“But you can’t buy that kind of personality, it’s something you either have or you don’t.”