A lack of personality in possession was the main difference as Watford lost 3-1 at Middlesbrough said Tom Cleverley.

The Hornets boss ended the season with defeat to his friend and former teammate Michael Carrick, whose side gave the visitors a timely reminder in the importance of taking chances when they come along.

“I’ve no complaints with the result,” said Cleverley.

“I thought they showed just a little bit more personality with the ball than us, so when we try to pressure teams and they have the personality to stay calm and play round us, that makes it difficult.

“We just didn’t show the same personality, when they came after us, to pop round it. When we did we missed that final product.

“I said to the lads that they are things for me to address. I feel I’m nowhere near unlocking the potential of this team in possession, and it’s my job to analyse and then plan for pre-season.”

On a day when his own forwards both failed to get a shot on target, never mind score, when sent clean through it was perhaps telling that Cleverley singled out Boro’s Emmanuel Latte Lath for praise.

“They have good players, and I really like their No.9,” the Watford head coach said.

Middlesbrough 3 Watford 1 - match report

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“They picked us off and maybe we should have been a bit more patient because we were too eager to press.

“And today was the first time I’ve thought a couple of our recovery runs didn’t have the intensity I’ve seen in the last eight games.

“I won’t hold it against the players because the application has been fantastic but today I didn’t think was our best.”

Watford had given a number of top six sides a proper contest in recent weeks, but were second best yesterday.

“Having watched a lot of Middlesbrough in research for the game I think they will be a genuine challenger next season, and we fell short of that,” Cleverley admitted.

“Against Leeds, Ipswich, West Brom, Southampton we competed, and today wasn’t a quality thing, it was personality.

“They looked like they wanted to be the superior team and for that you have to have bravery in possession.

“Having said that, I thought our two midfielders were our two strongest players and did everything they could, but as we advanced up the pitch we didn’t show enough composure.

“But I’m not going to summarise the last nine games through one game today, although I am frustrated, and disappointed for the fans.

“We’ve had fans getting up at 4.30am to come up here, and it’ll be just as bad a journey home for them as it was coming up.”