Watford’s players tried to win tonight’s match against Nottingham Forest with their hearts and not their minds and that is why they had to settle for a 2-2 draw, according to Hornets head coach Slavisa Jokanovic.

The Golden Boys excelled during the opening hour and twice led fellow promotion-chasers Forest.

But the home side appeared to lose their focus and control of the contest in the final half an hour. It allowed the visitors to regain parity both on the score-sheet and in the balance of play.

“We tried to win the game with our hearts and not our minds,” Jokanovic admitted.

“We lost control. After what we were doing in the first 60 minutes, we started running too much and started to press in the zone where we didn’t need to. My team wanted to change the situation and find a way to win the game but we must have more control.

“We could have won this game 3-0 but it was 2-2 and we ended up with one point.”

He added: “We must have patience and control, and we must be smarter.

“I believe in the first 60 minutes we played a really good game and always had control. We made some brilliant actions, had many chances and had 60-something per cent possession of the ball. This was more important [than the final 30 minutes in the long term].

“We made one mistake [for the opposition’s second goal] and Forest scored but I will insist that we will play this way and if we do then we can make some mistakes.”

Jokanovic stated he told his players following his arrival that he wants to play attacking football but with more control and accepted that it will take time to implement his style fully.

Most of Watford’s positive play during Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday came through the middle of the pitch.

But the Serbian explained: “In the last game we played through the middle but Nottingham Forest cut this space for us so we made a reaction and tried to open the wide spaces with the full-backs.

“If we have a plan at the start of a game, then we have to change a little bit once the game has started.

“I think my team is an intelligent team and I don’t understand what the reason is that they lost it in the last 30 minutes. I believe we could have completed the game with many more minutes of control.”

Watford midfielder Almen Abdi suffered a shoulder injury in the first half and although he came out after the interval, he was forced off five minutes later.

Jokanovic recognised Watford lost some of their composure once Abdi went off but refused to blame that on the departure of the influential midfielder or his replacement Sean Murray.

Jokanovic said: “We started to lose the control when we lost Abdi on the pitch but it is not a question of [being because of] one player who is out or in [the team], we lost the control as a group.”

Watford arguably would have had a greater chance of retaining their dominance had Forest captain Michael Mancienne been sent off shortly before the break for fouling Vydra when he appeared to be through on goal.

Jokanovic was left bewildered by referee Dean Whitestone’s decision only to hand the former Chelsea defender a yellow card.

He also felt Kelvin Wilson should have been sent off when he brought down Vydra in the box prior to Watford’s second goal early in the second half.

Jokanovic said: “If it (the Mancienne decision) shouldn’t have been a red card then I don’t know the rules of football. For me it is 100 per cent [a penalty].

“It is the same the second time. It is probably a little bit different but for me they should both have been sent off.”

He continued: “I said to him (the referee) that if a player is the last guy then should he be sent off? He said yes but then the last guy (Mancienne) did that action and the referee didn’t do anything. For the referee it was a yellow card and for me it should have been a red card. But that is history now.”

Read a report from tonight's match here. Comments from Nottingham Forest assistant manager Steve Wigley can be found here.