A frustrated Nigel Pearson reflected on Watford’s inability to capitalise on their first-half chances following their 3-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Troy Deeney and Abodulaye Doucuoure had the best of the opportunities as the Hornets looked set to go into the break on level terms, only to concede minutes before the break when Ben Foster brought down Bruno Fernandes and the Portuguese midfielder converted the resultant penalty.

The Hornets thought they’d levelled through Deeney early in the second half, but VAR disallowed the goal for a Craig Dawson handball in the build-up, and United made the most of the let off soon after when Anthony Martial doubled the lead. Mason Greenwood then added a third as the hosts ran out comfortable victors.

The Hornets head coach said: “[It was] a frustrating day in the sense when you play the bigger clubs it’s very important when you create chances or you have opportunities you do everything you can to take them. We didn’t take the chances that we had earlier in the game.

“Our attempts to press them high up caused a few problems in terms of frustration for them at times, although you know that when you play against teams like United they will have some good technicians and have spells of possession where you’ve got to show your discipline as well, [but] we’re a bit annoyed with ourselves to come in 1-0 down because we had some good chances and showed decent discipline in terms of our shape. From an attacking situation we’ve been countered and concede a penalty.”

Having picked up 13 points from Pearson’s first six games in change, Watford’s attempts to get away from the drop zone have stalled with only two points from their last five matches.

The Hornets boss is “continuing to send the same message and that is we have to be responsible for our own future. We have to also recognise what gets us success in games and that is to function as efficiently as we can, both as a defensive unit and as an attacking unit.

“Today for instance, I thought we passed the ball an awful lot better in the early part of the second half than we did in the first half and at the end of it we come away with a defeat which could at times have been even more costly for us.

“It’s a difficult one to really reflect on until I see it again in its entirety. I know that we’ve been sometimes a little bit wasteful when we’ve had chances, we’ve been countered too often ourselves during the game and we’ve had a goal disallowed which came at a moment where we were doing pretty well.”

Pearson said he had not seen a replay of the disallowed goal, but continued: “I think we’re all becoming accustomed to having to wait for confirmation for what’s happened and I’m told it was a handball.

“Even if I’d seen it, it doesn’t matter, I can’t change it. It’s been a frustrating day for us for sure, get back to work.”