Watford had "no luck" in the eyes of Walter Mazzarri as an attritional game at Crystal Palace was settled by a second-half Troy Deeney own goal , but the head coach conceded his side needed to "do better" offensively.

Ironically given their defeat, the Hornets had the only shot on target of the game through M'Baye Niang before the break, but Wayne Hennessey was a relative spectator as they failed to breach a much-improved home defence.

Mazzarri threw Niang, Troy Deeney, Nordin Amrabat, Isaac Success and Daryl Janmaat at Palace at different points of their defeat but to little effect.

The Hornets did look strong defensively for the opening hour; but Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha should both have done better with chances which could have put the hosts out of sight.

However, it was not enough to deter the Italian's view of his side's performance.

"We should have done better going forwards but in the other three-quarters of the pitch we did very well," he said. "We were just missing the last metres and [M'Baye] Niang had a great opportunity which was a just a matter of finding the goal.

"We did not deserve to win, but a 0-0 draw would have been fair. Today we played better, we were well positioned and it was just a matter of scoring.

"If we continue like this, we will be on a good path. The fact we didn’t concede any shots on target to them is a good sign."

Mazzarri also took issue with a perceived foul on M'Baye Niang shortly before the Palace goal, one which left the physical Frenchman off the pitch as the free-kick which led to the winner was swung in.

He said: "We had no luck at all and there was a foul on Niang just before the goal.

"We had 10 men when the free-kick was taken, and that was during the period when we were doing our best. It was a very unlucky day."