Javi Gracia says he has already seen a positive reaction from the Watford players since his appointment at Vicarage Road, but admits he hoped for a better performance after his opening game ended in a 1-0 FA Cup fourth round defeat at Southampton.

The Hornets were ultimately beaten by Jack Stephens’ early goal, but they produced a poor display for most of the contest and rarely came close to getting back on terms until Christian Kabasele sent a free header wide in injury time.

The Spaniard, who was appointed following Marco Silva’s sacking last Sunday, said: “I hoped for a better performance. The match didn’t start in the best way. We conceded an early goal and after that the match was complicated. The second half we tried to get a better result and we had more control than the second half. We had an opportunity to try to score at the end but it wasn’t a good match.

“The match today was tough but I’ve seen a reaction, a team that wants to get the goal and fight hardest until the end. I don’t know what happens in the future, but I know tomorrow we’ll start again and with more confidence to get a good performance and a better match the next time.”

Gracia’s reign got off to the worst possible start with the concession of an early goal, as the Hornets were once again found wanting at a set piece.

The new head coach admitted: “We need to do many things and the only way to do it is working. In the first match we didn’t get a good result, but I’m happy because I saw the support of our fans – 4,000 I think – I’m very grateful, I feel sorry for them and I’ll try to do better next time.”

Time is running out for Watford to bring in new additions before the transfer window closes, but Gracia batted away a question about the chances of the Hornets making signings before Wednesday, responding: “At this moment I’m worried about the players that are injured. I want to recover them and I’m sure these players will be with me for the rest of the season. Now, in the future, I don’t know what will happen.”