Malky Mackay was set to seek some answers from his players at training today after criticising a lack of “passion” during the first-half performance in the 3-3 pre-season friendly draw at Northampton Town.

The Hornets found themselves 3-1 down at the interval at Sixfields on Saturday after a number of defensive mistakes contributed to all three Cobblers goals.

Watford did salvage a draw thanks to Danny Graham’s second of the match and a mis-hit Marvin Sordell finish. But while the game made for entertaining viewing for the fans, Mackay agreed that it was “not particularly” enjoyable for him.

He said: “I thought first half we were very slack and sloppy and Northampton came out and did what I expected Northampton to come out and do and that is go out there and, with heart and determination and passion and football ability, go and give us a tough game and we didn’t respond in the first half.

“We had some words at half-time and we showed a bit of passion and desire in the second half which is something that we’re going to have to do a week on Friday night [at Norwich City], so they’ve got the message.”

Asked why he felt these attributes were lacking in the opening 45 minutes, mackay responded: “I think that’s something I’ve got to talk to them about when we meet up on Monday morning, but it’s the same players that showed the desire and the passion for the last three weeks in pre-season every day and did last year.

“You’ve got to realise that the minute the ref blows the whistle, the opposition in that first 15, 20 minutes are in there trying as hard as they can to take the game to you at home and in front of their crowd and beat you and you’ve got to stand up to that. It’s always not going to be the fact you can get the ball down and knock it round the back. At times, you’ve got to stretch the opposition as much as they stretch you and it wasn’t until later on in the second half that we started to do that and cause them problems.”