Walter Mazzarri insists Watford played a great game at Manchester City despite their 2-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium this evening.

The Hornets showed a lack of ambition for long spells of the game and opted to leave Troy Deeney on the bench until the final 20 minutes.

Watford only looked like scoring in the latter stages of the match but Mazzarri was very pleased with his side's display.

The head coach said: “I said it before I think that we played a great game.

"It’s not easy to play in this stadium against Manchester City against the players of this team so I think we had a great game from our side especially in the second half."

Opting to put captain Deeney on the bench was something of a surprise but the Italian's reasoning was because of his four bookings and to ensure the striker is in peak condition for the Sunderland game on Saturday.

Mazzarri said: “We have had three games in a week and this without Stefano Okaka. Also the fact Deeney had four yellow cards and I wanted to help his condition and be ready for the game against Sunderland.

"We also studied Manchester City and thought that a player of the characteristics of Jerome Sinclair was appropriate for this game."