Eleven league games into the Championship season, Watford have nine points, two victories and a high mistake to success ratio.

In the style Valerien Ismael is asking his players to play, errors are more likely and certainly that’s been confirmed in many games this season.

Those errors have cost goals at one end, and missed them at the other – that in turn means performances have not been turned into points and so Watford sit uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.

That all begs the question, can this group of players play ‘Valball’ well enough to make it successful?

“They will be able to play my way,” he said.

“We had a meeting with my staff and we went through and analysed the situation, which areas we need to improve.

“For sure our fitness levels are top, and are getting better and better.

“It’s not tactical because we are able to press and force mistakes. And it’s not technical because these players have the quality to play football.

“The problem is on the mental side. The players have habits, and they need to understand they now have to step up and be the guy.

“Secondly, they also need to perform with consistency.

“Take Jake Livermore as an example. He didn’t play for a long period, he came back in and straight away he was very strong. No fitness problems, technically strong, knows our tactics.

“We know that when you start to win games it will give you confidence. Currently we lack that confidence.

“We are making improvements and moving on the right path but for sure we need to see results.”

There were changes in personnel ahead of the 1-1 draw at Cardiff, and also a tweak that saw the 4-3-3 become a solid 4-5-1 when the Hornets were not in possession.

“We assessed the three games we had lost, and we saw the problem was duels. We lost the important duels,” said Ismael.

“There were two real problems: individual mistakes, and not winning the decisive duels.

“So if the players are not able to do that, then we change the players so that we can be more solid.

“At Cardiff we looked more solid without losing the intensity in our press. We won a lot of balls, we forced mistakes, we should have won the game.

“Yes you have to adapt, but you have to do so without losing your identity.”

It’s not been a start to fill anyone with huge amounts of hope, and if results don’t pick up soon are Watford fans in for a worrying winter?

“I am not concerned, no” Ismael said.

“When you make a change in your life, and it is a massive change for the club, things are always worst at the beginning.

“If someone wants to lose weight, it is toughest at the beginning. If someone wants to work out, they will have muscle soreness at the beginning.

“But it’s all about believing in the way.

“If everyone believes in the way, then we will come through. We will always find the solution, and when we do we will win games.

“We are all aligned inside the club, we believe in this way. It’s a conscious decision and I think the club has, with the contract extension and the decision they have made, shown they believe.

“When things don’t work out, that is when you challenge yourself: are we aligned, do we want the same things? You have to prove it by sticking together.”