Having been here for the second half of last season, defender Ryan Porteous has lived through some pretty forgettable Watford away days.

In fact the Scottish international has played in 10 games for the Hornets on the road and has yet to travel home a winner.

The 1-0 defeat at Stoke, in the first half at least, was very reminiscent of some of those miserable journeys.

“I don’t think we can accept days like this and performances like that, especially with the amount of times that it happened last season. As a group, we won’t accept that,” said Porteous.

“We are all good enough players and we’re all experienced enough to get the ball down, keep playing and be brave enough. It’s very disappointing and I think it’s a lesson learned.”

As his head coach said, Watford were not ‘on it’ during the first 45 minutes.

“It was very disappointing,” Porteous admitted.

“We didn’t start the game well. I think the conditions were tough, but it’s not an excuse. We need to get the ball down more and be braver on the ball.

“We always have the options that the manager puts in front of us to keep the ball. Maybe we felt the conditions in our head a little bit more than they actually ended up affecting us.

“We did well to stay in the game and I thought we defended brilliantly in the first half.”

Valerien Ismael’s body language through the first half, and his demeanour as he headed off down the tunnel at half-time, suggested the players were in for a few home truths.

“The manager had a go at us at half-time and he told us to get our act together, start playing and I felt we did,” said Porteous.

“We reacted well and we conceded a sloppy goal on our part. The reaction from that was good, but it is about fine margins in these games, and I’m not sure we deserved anything from the game.

“We got the ball down, and I think the wind plays a massive factor. They kept a high line in the first half because the ball will always run through to the goalkeeper. In the second half it flips and you have the option to stretch the game.”

Ismael said last week that midweeks without a game generally mean two training sessions a day, and Porteous is anticipating the squad will get a good working over this week.

"Training has always been tough and it has been since the manager has come in,” he said.

“Pre-season was very hard and it hasn’t really changed since then. It is tough, but that is a needs-must. It’s intense and with the squad we have now, we need to improve.”