Marco Silva admitted Watford started poorly and reacted to going behind “more with heart than quality” following their 1-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Hornets were all at sea at times in the opening stages and were fortunate not to fall behind, but they weathered that storm and were able to go into the break on level terms.

The game was ultimately decided by Pascal Gross’ 64th-minute strike, but either side of that Richarlison spurned the visitors’ two best chances as they suffered a fourth consecutive defeat and are now without a win in six games.

“It is a bad run,” Silva acknowledged. “When we achieve good results in a row it is very good, the other moments not and this is that moment for us.

“We didn’t start well, Brighton started a little bit faster and we were defending too deep and we had problems to react first. We start to have more of the match after 20, 25 minutes when the game is a little bit more balanced, but we didn’t create many chances in the first half.

“The second half was a more balanced game as well and we had a chance with Richarlison before they scored from one mistake from our team. We were set up from a free-kick and we played the build-up short and one missed pass and we lost the ball and they score.

“After that moment, we react but we react more with the heart than quality. We didn’t perform well today. The quality in our game was not the best, but we had one more chance with Richarlison and [Stefano] Okaka at the end as well.”

Asked if he felt the shortage of confidence that comes from having a disappointing run was a factor in his side’s poor start, Silva pointed to Brighton’s sequence of results going into what was to become a first victory in eight league outings.

“If you look for the last results for both teams, they’re not really different from us,” the Hornets head coach said. “We didn’t win the last five games, they didn’t win the last seven or eight. In this game you don’t see the big difference between the form of both teams.”