Javi Gracia was once again left to lament Watford’s failure to take their chances as they were unable to end their dismal away form on the final day of the season following a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.

The Hornets had their moments to end their seven-game duck without a goal on the road in the Premier League – none more so than when Richarlison saw a close-range header late in the first half superbly saved by Sergio Romero – but they ultimately paid the price for one defensive lapse that Marcus Rashford capitalised on.

He said: “I think the last performance playing away, maybe we deserved something but we didn’t take the chances to score. If you don’t score it’s very difficult to get any points against United, but we tried to the end and finished the season doing our best.

“It was the same situation when playing against Tottenham when Richarlison and Andre [Gray] had chances to score which we didn’t take. I think we need to score first and after that I’m sure the team will be able to play with confidence and score another goal and win a game but at this moment it’s very difficult for us.”

The Hornets head coach was broadly satisfied with his side’s defensive performance, but acknowledged they were undone by Juan Mata’s movement which set up Rashford’s winner.

He said: “I think defensively the team keep a good level. Today there was a mistake and they broke the defensive line with movement and with that situation United won the game.

"We need to improve for sure defensively, but in this moment the most important thing is to improve our away performances in attack and creating more chances. We create chances but it is not enough to win games in this moment; we need to create more chances and be more effective.

“I think today we had spaces and we had time to finish better than we did. Today was a good chance to get points but we didn’t do it, but we need to think about why we didn’t and try to sort it for next season.

“In the last part of the season I think we’ve had good performances. Against Liverpool it was the worst, but in the other games I think we had good performances but we didn’t dominate the boxes in many of them. It’s difficult to play away if you don’t score with the chances you have.”

Arguably the biggest positive for the Hornets from an individual perspective was the return of Nathaniel Chalobah as a second-half substitute following his long injury lay-off.

The Watford boss said: “I think it’s good news for the player for sure, for the supporters, for all the team, for the coach, for everybody. Chalobah is a very good player.

"When we arrived there were a lot of injured players and we have recovered players day by day. I’m sure players like Chalobah, like [Tom] Cleverley, they are very important for us.

Looking ahead to next season – “yes, I think so” was Gracia’s response when asked if he thinks he will still be at the helm come August - “The club is ambitious and will try to improve. I don’t know about the (player) movements in the future but I’m sure the mentality of the club of the owner is to improve the level of the team. In this period of being together it will be good for the future.”