Javi Gracia felt Watford dropped below the performance levels for the first time this season, admitting they had suffered a “bad day” in the 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets were exposed on the counter-attack when David Brooks put the Cherries into an early lead and after Craig Cathcart had spurned an excellent chance to equalise, the home side’s task got significantly harder when Christian Kabasele was sent off for a second yellow card after conceding a penalty.

Joshua King converted that and made it 3-0 with a header shortly before half-time, before Bournemouth wrapped up the points early in the second half through Callum Wilson.

The Hornets boss said: “It has been the first game where we haven’t competed at the same level as other games. In all of them I think we competed really well. Today we didn’t start well, Bournemouth played much better than us at the beginning of the game, winning all the challenges, all the second balls, but in that moment we created some chances with Craig and some shots.

"But after the sending off the game was very tough for us, we tried to score in the first half, but we conceded another goal and after that playing with 10 [men] was very tough for us.”

Watford had been sloppy defensively before they were punished and Gracia admitted: “Today we have conceded more chances, we make more mistakes I think than in all the games together.

“Maybe because we played around 60 minutes with 10 players, maybe because we started losing early and after that maybe the players felt more pressure. But today it was a bad day and we need to improve for the next games and come back to the levels we had before.”

Referee Jon Moss’ decision to send off Kabasele, having already yellow-carded the defender for catching Asmir Begovic with a leading arm, annoyed many of the home faithful, but the Hornets boss refused to criticise the referee.

He said: “I prefer I don’t say anything about the referee because after losing 4-0 I think we have a lot of things to improve before speaking about the referees.

“Maybe I agree or disagree with some decisions but I think today I prefer to speak about us and be more demanding with ourselves.

“We knew how Bournemouth would play today but in the beginning we could feel how they were winning all the first balls, all the second balls, we didn’t feel comfortable in that moment.

“We could score, we didn’t and after the game was more difficult minute after minute and then it was impossible to have good sensations during the game.”