Walter Mazzarri claimed he was not happy with Watford’s performance for “the first time” but did feel the outcome of this afternoon's 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace was “fair”.

The game got off to a torrid start for the Hornets when they lost Daryl Janmaat and Valon Behrami to early injuries and it looked like Christmas cheer would be in short supply after Yohan Cabaye fired the Eagles into a first-half lead.

But Christian Benteke’s penalty miss before the break proved to be extra costly when Troy Deeney did find the net from 12 yards in the second half after Damien Delaney was penalised for pulling back Sebastian Prodl, enabling the skipper to score his 100th Watford goal in the process.

“It’s a result I think is fair even though for the first time I am not happy at all with the performance,” said the Hornets boss. “It’s also true that in my whole career I’ve never lost two players after ten minutes and this affects the condition of the game and the whole team in general.

“We were not the usual team and even in games where we not brilliant, we were not the usual team in general and especially on single players.”

Explaining his reasons for dropping the Hornets skipper to the bench, Mazzarri said: “Troy, as any other striker in the Premier League, he has to work a lot and sacrifice for the whole team in order to help the squad. I think in the last games he lost a little bit of his freshness and lucidity and I decided to put him on the side in order to get it back as Odion (Ighalo) did. Also the fact that we didn’t have (Isaac) Success and (Stefano) Okaka for many games, it didn’t give me the chance to give Troy a rest.

“I think in the Premier League you always need at least four starting XI strikers and then they rotate through the games. Unfortunately on this occasion for many reasons Ighalo and Deeney have been the ones that have been playing the most.”

When it was pointed out Deeney didn’t get the chance to rest today because of the injuries and asked how he could rest him now after scoring, the head coach responded: “Unfortunately, what could I do? On the first one [substitution] I didn’t want to put him in, so I put on (Camilo) Zuniga. On the second I had to because also I was seeing that the team didn’t have the right equilibrium and he had to come in in order to play with the two strikers.”

Mazzarri chose not to be drawn on how highly he regarded Deeney’s achievement of scoring 100 goals for one club, but he did admit to being pleased the striker’s ten-game wait for the milestone was now over.

He said “If I have to say something from today it’s only two things. The first is we got one point even though the performance was not good at all. I liked the spirit of the team in the second half and the real character of the team came out and we managed to get one point.

“The second thing is the 100 goals of Troy Deeney because it seemed like a weight that he was carrying and now he’s managed to take this weight off and can now think about scoring more goals.”