A frustrated Nigel Pearson bemoaned Watford’s inability to take their chances after their survival hopes suffered a blow with a 1-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.

The Hornets had started promisingly, but indecision saw early opportunities go to waste before Jordan Ayew capitalised on the visitors' failure to close him down quickly enough by curling home from the edge of the penalty area.

Eagles keeper Vicente Guaita was forced into saves by Troy Deeney and Abdoulaye Doucoure after the break as the visitors pushed for an equaliser without creating anything clear-cut as the hosts held on for the win.

Pearson reflected: “I think we played pretty well. [It was] a missed opportunity today in some ways because of our inability to be decisive in front of goal. We had chances in the first half, in particular, to go ahead and I thought the goal that we conceded was one we could have done better with in terms of blocking the shot.

“Today is a bit of a missed opportunity to pick up more points because I think we did enough in terms of performance to come away with at least a point and possibly we should have won it as well, but you’ve got to take your chances, that’s the bottom line.”

Asked if he felt his side had created enough in the second half when they were chasing the game, the Watford head coach responded: “They’re happy to defend with a bit of depth and it’s never easy coming here. Our quality with the final pass sometimes was the problem and our set-play delivery, when we had opportunities late on, that was something that needed to be better.

“I think in the entirety of the game we’ve played with a good intensity, we’ve dominated long periods as well but it is what it is. There’s no point wasting any energy now dwelling on this for too long. I’ve said in the past I’ll measure our performance based on us against ourselves, not what anybody else thinks about us, and I know we’ve done a lot of things pretty well today.”

Palace’s goal came after Christian Kabasele was caught in the face by a Christian Benteke arm at the start of the build-up to the move.

Pearson “wouldn’t expect that to be given” but did question why Wilfried Zaha was not shown a second yellow card, particularly when he put his hand in the face of Etienne Capoue early in the second half.

He said: “They weren’t given so I don’t intend to sit here and start looking for events in the game that I expect the officials to take care of. The rules are the rules, it’s as simple as that.

“I know what our players think about it, I’ve got my opinions but I’m not going to sit here start talking about other people’s players. It’s quite straightforward in my mind. That’s what we have VAR for.”