Javi Gracia admitted Watford need to improve after conceding another “avoidable goal” as the 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers dealt a huge blow to their hopes of finishing seventh in the Premier League.

After Andre Gray had cancelled out Raul Jimenez’s first-half opener, the Hornets were beaten when Ben Foster belatedly came for a fine Ruben Neves cross but didn’t get near it and Diogo Jota volleyed home at the far post.

It is the third home game running in which the Hornets have paid a heavy price for an individual mistake and the head coach admitted: “I think in all the games and all the goals we concede, always there is a mistake. But in the last games we are conceding, in my opinion, some avoidable goals and we need to improve. It’s the only thing we can do if we want to have better results.”

The defeat means Watford are now four points behind seventh-placed Wolves with two games of the season remaining, meaning that it is looking increasingly like they will have to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final to secure European football next season.

Gracia said: “Before the game we knew our target is to try to play in Europe next season and after the game it is the same.

“We have two chances, one of them trying to win the final and the second one - but if we are not able try to achieve the seventh position, the place for Europe is try to win the final.”

The Watford boss also explained his decision to take off Will Hughes and switch to three at the back in the second half by bringing on Christian Kabasele.

“At that moment I was seeing how my players were, players like (Craig) Cathcart, players like Will," he said. "The other team is really dangerous on the counter attack and we have to be stronger in that situation and try to be more offensive with our wing-backs as well, try to be more compact defensively and in set pieces and try to score the second goal. After, with Isaac (Success), were waiting with him to get a better result in the last minutes.”

Success had to be introduced soon after the first substitution after Cathcart sustained what appeared to be hamstring injury.

“I’m not sure what he has this moment,” Gracia admitted. “We have to wait until tomorrow but I think it is a little problem.”