We have to improve defensively. That was the message from a downcast Javi Gracia after watching his Watford side undone by two Burnley free-kicks in the space of three second-half minutes as Sean Dyche’s men came from behind to seal a 2-1 win.

The Hornets had been the best side until the former Hornets boss introduced Sam Vokes from the substitutes’ bench and deservedly led through Roberto Pereyra’s goal. But the Clarets substitute was to strike within 30 seconds of entering the fray and a second goal swiftly followed through former Hornets loanee Jack Cork after Kevin Long had headed another set piece back into the game.

“I think we dominated the game,” Gracia lamented. “We had more possession, more shots on target, we had 10 corner kicks but it wasn’t enough. We should have killed the game when we could do it but in three minutes we have conceded two goals from two free-kicks, again like the last game, and we have to improve these defensive actions because we are losing many, many points.

Asked if he felt his side were not learning the lessons after Bournemouth snatched a 2-2 draw last week with Jermain Defoe equalising following a free-kick, Gracia said: “If you see the game today you can see we need to improve these defensive actions. I hope in the next game we’ll be better.

“They didn’t surprise us today because we know their style of play with long balls, second balls and they feel comfortable without possession. Before we conceded the goals in three minutes we were playing well. We had created the chances, scored and we felt comfortable, but after that it was tough.”

Vokes’ introduction added to Burnley’s strength and power up front alongside Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, but the Hornets head coach countered: “I don’t think it’s something physical. Okay, you have to defend against players taller than you many times and it’s not easy, but I’m sure we can do it better and I’m sure we’ll do better next time.”