He made the most appearances, he started the most games, he captained the team and he won Player of the Season.

Wes Hoedt was the pillar in defence that fans recognised over the last 10 months as the best and most consistent performer, and stat-based sites like FotMob and SofaScore rated him as Watford’s top player.

He played every minute of the 48 games he appeared in, and those 4,320 minutes of first-team action put him more than 1,000 minutes clear of the next highest player, fellow central defender Ryan Porteous.

With the season over, and before heading off for a break, the Dutchman spoke to The Watford Observer to look back over the campaign.

Before a ball was kicked, what were your expectations?

“Of course I was aiming for the highest, so I thought it was possible to challenge for the promotion places.

“That was the main thing I was thinking about. With the way pre-season had gone and games against teams like Arsenal, I was confident.

“It was a very physical pre-season for sure and I thought that set us up in a really good way.”

What went wrong after the opening-day win over QPR, or was it that they were so bad that day we were flattered?

“I think we were very good in that moment and played really good football.

“Normally after that you try to get in a flow, but we never reached a position where we could win a few games in a row.

“We never got into a flow because we could never be consistent.”

After that QPR game, when the results didn’t come, as a group of players did you feel things weren’t working?

“I think firstly you try to find solutions, and then try to do things a bit differently with a few tweaks.

“If that doesn’t work, which it obviously didn’t, then the questions start coming.

“I think the questions were there and everyone tried their best.

“The simply thing was, in my opinion, what we were doing wasn’t good enough.”

The away game at Sunderland was a low point. What do you remember about it?

“That was a very bad game.

“I think we needed to have a very hard conversation after that in the dressing room, and we got the right response from that.

“It was really hard words but everyone spoke their truth, and spoke up.

“It was quite intense but it was what we needed in that moment and it brought the right response.”

Did you feel that meeting after the game showed immediate benefits in the game at Cardiff a few days later?

“Yeah, because that was a game we should have won.

“But that is the biggest phrase in our entire season: ‘should have’.

“We should have done so many things differently but we didn’t.”

What happened in that period leading up to Christmas when we seemed to be flying and able to string results together?

“I don’t know! If we knew, we could have kept it going, or changed things around when everything fell apart.

“We were just in a moment where things went our way and in this group there is definitely a case of when things don’t go our way, we fall apart way too quickly.

“That is probably the biggest issue which means we were not fighting for the play-offs.

“Up until the Christmas period we got ourselves back on track and I think we got within a point of the play-off places.

“We were still struggling, but we were up there.

“But then, in my opinion, our Christmas period and our January transfer window were simply not good enough.”

When we were near the relegation zone after the Sunderland game, we weren’t truly relegation candidates – but equally when we were near the play-off places we weren’t truly contenders. Would you agree?

“Yeah, we were everywhere in between the two.

“I think our placing of 15th shows that too. For me, even speaking about finishing 15th hurts because it’s not a place where my ambitions lie – and neither does the club's.”

The 4-1 home defeat to Bristol City on Boxing Day seemed to be the catalyst for our form to fall off a cliff. Is that fair?

“Yeah, that was a very tough day. We weren’t there. We didn’t show up.

“Things started to crack and fall apart after that. I think we tried everything to keep it together, and to get going again.

“The previous coaching staff did all they could, so there is no blame on them in my opinion.”

Did that defeat to City lead us to be come ‘too safe’ in home games?

“No, I think it’s more that we weren’t clinical enough. We don’t score enough goals.

“If you look, we kept 14 clean sheets in the season and yet we still conceded 51 goals.

“That’s a lot of goals in 32 games, when you consider we didn’t concede any in 14.

“That sums us up: when we lose, we lose big. And we just don’t score enough.

“Plus we drew too many games. Put all that lot together and that is what killed us.

“Conceding too many goals even when we kept so many clean sheets, not scoring enough goals and drawing 17 games.

“If you draw that many games you will not even be close to fighting for promotion.”

• Part two of this review of the season with Wes Hoedt will be online tomorrow.