Hayden Mullins had mixed feelings after his week in charge of Watford ended with a goalless draw against Crystal Palace, but he expressed his pride in the effort and commitment of the players.

The former midfielder will return to his post in charge of the Under-23s following the appointment of Nigel Pearson as head coach and his two-game stint ended with a game that saw the Hornets have the bulk of the attacking play without being able to turn it into a three-point reward.

The interim boss reflected: “We knew Crystal Palace would come here, they would frustrate us for long periods. We know they’re the kind of side who sit quite deep and they’ve got some very good players who can hit you on the counter-attack. We knew that but we also knew we needed to try and get the win and try and open the game, albeit not getting done on the counter.

“We tried a different game-plan from the other day. In the first half it was quite even, but in the second half we were the ones on the front foot and we were pushing them back for large periods of the game but we didn’t really get any clear-cut chances, which we looked at and it’s a little bit disappointing really.

“It was a great performance, the lads gave absolutely everything and I’m sure we’ll go again next week.”

Pearson was introduced to the fans before kick off and he also went into the changing room to meet his new players.

“He said a few words with the lads,” Mullins explained. “He introduced himself and went around the group, shook everyone’s hands and had a few words to say before the boys went out which was brilliant.”

The new Hornets boss is known for his leadership qualities. Asked if this had come across in the time he spent with the players, Mullins responded: “Most definitely. I think that’s one of the reasons why the club have appointed him because they know that about him, they know his pedigree, he’s a top manager and he’s got a good group of players to work with.”

The interim boss feels Pearson is taking over a squad that has a wide range of qualities, mentioning the club’s record signing in person after a display in which he arguably looked the most likely to unlock the organised Palace ranks.

Mullins said: “I think there’s a mixture of experience in there, youth and pace, good technical players, good defenders, he’s got a real good mix of everything.

“I think young [Ismaila] Sarr in the wide area today, he’s got loads of energy, loads of running in him, he’s an exciting player.

“He’s got a very good squad to work with and I’m sure he’ll come in tomorrow and start working with them and getting his ideas across to the boys.”

From his short spell in charge though, Mullins believes the Hornets do have the fight required to turn their fortunes around to stay up.

He said: “I’ve seen that all week, I’ve seen that in the two games I’ve been in charge.

“Up at Leicester we got undone after 53 minutes with a dodgy penalty decision in my view, the next goal was the 94th minute, so there was loads of fight in that game.

“We went there with a game-plan and they tried to execute it as best as they could and today we were up against another good side and we kept pushing right until the end.

“We could have maybe nicked it if we could have created a little bit more of a clearer chance or one of those decision went our way or the boys went all the way until the end.”

One of those decisions came near the end when Troy Deeney had a penalty appeal turned down after Gary Cahill had his arm around his neck as they both challenged for a cross.

“There was a couple,” Mullins said of the penalty appeals. “There was one with Sarr as well at the back post which we looked at and I think the contact maybe comes just before he heads the ball, but the one on Troy I think most definitely.

“There’s a frame where he’s [Cahill’s] kind of climbed on his back. I think sometimes it goes with you and sometimes it goes against you.”