Watford's head of academy Richard Thomas is confident Watford Under 23s can still progress from their Premier League Cup group, despite a 3-0 loss to Everton last night.

The young Hornets fielded a much changed side against the Toffees, with top-scorer Joseph Hungbo, Bayli Spencer-Adams, Cameron Green, Mason Barrett, Callum Whelan and Adam Parkes unavailable after spending time training with the first team.

The defeat saw Watford drop to third in the group, but with home games against Everton, Fulham and Plymouth still to come, there is still a chance they could qualify for the next stage of the competition.

After what he felt was a dominant Hornets' display, Thomas is still optimistic about their chances.

"It wasn't a fair reflection,” he said.

“I know only one stat counts, and that's the score, but we dominated for long periods. We had most of the play and had a lot of possession in their half, but we got hurt by some mistakes. I'm disappointed for the lads as they didn't deserve to come away with a 3-0 defeat.

“A number of them did really well. We executed some nice link-up play around the box and I thought the ‘keeper made some very good saves. We retained possession well and recycled it. There weren't many who didn't contribute to a very strong performance.

"We are in a good position and have all home games to come. Having felt out Everton and seen what they've got, it will be interesting to get them back at our place and see what we can do in that fixture when we have everyone available. They had a lot of players who won the league and the cup last year so it was good for our players to have that experience and feel the pace of it. They gave a really good account of themselves. I'm pleased.”