Javi Gracia felt Watford were not aggressive enough in their attacking play and need to improve their “mechanisms” after a disappointing offensive performance in their goalless draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Hornets managed just five goal attempts throughout the 90 minutes and not one on target as Ben Foster made three high-class saves to ensure his side secured a point.

Asked why his side had disappointed going forward, the Watford head coach said: “In the first half we didn’t suffer a lot and we had the possession in some moments, but we weren’t aggressive offensively and the possession wasn’t enough to create chances.

“I think the second half was worse because Brighton played better with lateral crosses, they usually do with more corner kicks where they are especially dangerous and I think we’ve defended well. To defend well against Brighton with all these set pieces is very demanding for a team like us and in that part of the game I think we played well.

“But offensively we tried different ways with Gerard (Deulofeu) and Troy (Deeney), with changing some minutes with Will (Hughes) in the middle and Gerard on the right side, after we change Gerard and played Troy and Andre (Gray) but we didn’t find the mechanisms to attack.”

Abdoulaye Doucoure was once again absent sidelined through injury and this was another game where they missed the drive he helps bring to Watford’s players. But Gracia felt it was process, and not personnel, that were responsible for his side’s attacking shortcomings.

He said: “We are changing some players from the last games because some of them injured, but I prefer not to complain about that because I think with the players we have today we are able to play much better offensively.

“We usually do it in different competitions, in the FA Cup with other players, it’s not something about the players, it’s about the mechanism and we need to improve and to work at that.”

Watford may have been off-colour at one end of the pitch, but at the other they had a player once again at the top of his game.

Foster has undoubtedly been one of the Hornets’ players of the season and he showed why yet again, doing superbly to repel headers from Jurgen Locadia in each half and also doing well to keep out an acrobatic effort from Shane Duffy.

“Today I think in the second half when Brighton played better was the moment when Ben saved us, but it’s not a surprise,” Gracia said. “I know he’s a very good keeper and a very important player for us and it’s nothing that I didn’t already know.

“I think all of you know better than me Ben Foster has had a brilliant career and I know I think he’s enjoying with us his work day by day, with a smile on his face and with a very good character and I think it’s good for the rest of the team.”