A shocked Marco Silva laid the blame for Watford’s defeat at Crystal Palace squarely at the door of their failure to kill the game with at least one more goal following their last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Selhurst Park.

The Hornets led for the majority of the contest after Daryl Janmaat headed them in front early on. It looked as if they would get away without netting a second – Troy Deeney and Richarlison missing the best chances - but after Tom Cleverley was sent off for a second yellow card with three minutes of normal time remaining the visitors snatched defeat from the jaws of victory as substitutes Bakary Sako and James McArthur struck to secure a dramatic victory for the hosts.

“We should win this match, we must win with the way we play and perform for 80, 85 minutes,” said Silva. “We were leading 1-0 but we must score more. We had two clear chances and at this level we need to kill.

“We did everything very well for 80 minutes, [Heurelho] Gomes didn’t have one save, they didn’t create one chance but if you analyse Crystal Palace’s last match at home and against teams fighting to remain in the Premier League, even against teams fighting to be champions, they create a lot of chances every time. They create a lot of chances because they have a lot of quality and they can play, and with [Christian] Benteke, [Reuben] Loftus-Cheek and [Andros] Townsend, they have a lot of quality in their attacking line, but we were solid, we were compact and we didn’t give them a chance to do anything until that moment. But we must kill the match with a second or third goal.

“After with 10 players, they believed, the red card gave them some belief, but even in that moment we should do different. For the first and second goal we were two-against-one against [Wilfried] Zaha like we planned, but we must put more aggression in that moment to block a player like him and to put him to the side and not permit him to come inside.”

Asked if his players were naïve with how they dealt with the closing stages following Cleverley’s dismissal, the Hornets head coach responded: “I don’t want to talk about only what we did with the 10 players. Of course we should manage the match in a different way because even the two moments Zaha created for Crystal Palace to score, I repeat we were in a good position.”

Silva claimed he didn’t see the incident that led to Cleverley’s second yellow card, but he refused to apportion any blame for what happened to his midfielder.

“I didn’t see the moment but Cleverley deserves all the credit,” he said. “What he’s done until now is amazing. He’s a big example for everyone in our dressing room with the way he works every day and how he plays and performs as well.

“He’s always one of the focused players and to think what is the best solution for the team, but sometimes it’s not easy. I’m sure he thought in that moment to talk the ball first and not the opponent. It’s not because of Tom we lost this game, I am sure.”