Beppe Sannino believes Watford’s players showed more commitment and effort this afternoon compared to previous away games despite suffering a 2-1 defeat to Wigan Athletic.

The Golden Boys have not won on the road since October 5 – a six-month period covering 14 games in all competitions and two head coaches.

Watford’s away form has all-but ended their play-off hopes, with the club now 12th in the Championship and 11 points below the top six with ten games remaining.

Whereas Wigan have won nine out of their last ten matches in all tournaments and sit fifth in the Championship.

“We played better than we have done away from home [recently] but I can’t be happy [with the performance] because of the result,” Sannino said.

"When I lose I am always disappointed. But I can say my lads gave everything in terms of effort, spirit and commitment.

“We had good chances to score today but we also made mistakes, for example the first goal came from one of those mistakes.

"Let's not forget we were playing a very good side and it was a good fight today.”

He later added: “Wigan are a good side and caused us problems today. But I can see some positives from the performance.

“My lads showed me more in terms of commitment and desire, compared to our previous away games.”

Watford took the lead on 36 minutes through Lewis McGugan but then conceded just four minutes later to go into the break level.

"It would have been an advantage to have gone in 1-0 up at half-time but our mistakes meant we went back into the dressing room without a lead [at half-time],” Sannino said.

Wigan caused Watford significant problems down the visitors’ right side in the first half, as Davide Faraoni and Essaid Belkalem struggled to cope with left wing back Jean Beausejour and Athletic’s attackers.

When asked about the problems his team suffered down their right side, Sannino simply replied: “Sometimes we created the problems on our own. So yes I am disappointed about that.”

Watford Observer: Essaid Belkalem has been described as a humble and ambitious player. Picture: Holly Cant

Belkalem has struggled since he joined Watford in the summer and was making his first start since October following several months out injured.

The Algerian international replaced Lloyd Doyley in the starting XI and the experienced defender was one of four players on the bench who could be used at centre half – the others being Joel Ekstrand, Lucas Neill and Tommie Hoban.

Sannino said: “Belkalem is a part of the Watford group. He has worked a lot in the last few weeks and for me it is important to give players the chance.

“Plus we have another game in a few days. So they were the reasons he played.”

Hoban was a crucial member of the Hornets side last season until an ankle injury ruled him out for a year.

He made his return as a half-time substitute against Middlesbrough on February 15 but has not featured since.

Fellow defender Lucas Neill has also only been used as a substitute since he arrived at the club.

When asked if Hoban and Neill were fit enough to start matches, Sannino replied: “Tommie Hoban will have his chance very soon because we have to see other players for the future.”

Read Wigan's Uwe Rosler's comments here and a match report from the game can be found here.