Watford manager Sean Dyche described his side's first half display at Colchester United as “unacceptable on any level” and conceded his side will get hurt in the played like that in the Championship.

A largely uneventful match at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this afternoon ended with Colchester running out 1-0 winners after Kayode Odejayi's first half goal.

Dyche spent considerable time talking to his backroom staff on the side of the pitch after the defeat and when asked what the focus of their conversation was, the Hornets boss replied: “Mainly the physical and mental preparation of the players because that first half was not good enough, I made them aware of that.

“It is good in a way that it came in pre-season as it works as a reminder but the first half was simply not good enough. It was unacceptable on any level, from any of us - the coaches and the players - but it was a good reality check of where we are as a group.

“Second half was considerably better. The overriding positive is that apart from a particularly soft goal, Scott Loach hasn't had a save to make all game. Whereas their keeper has had a few saves, a couple of close calls where we should have done better and a quite bizarre moment for a penalty, bizarre even for a pre-season game.

“But it is a real swift reminder for the players that mentally and physically, particularly mentally, that you have to be right.

“The real positive is to make sure that next weekend we need to be focussed and ready to play.”

Dyche admitted he was unsure why Watford were so poor in the first half but he was pleased with his side's fitness.

He said: “The last 15 minutes when we were telling them to press was just fitness. People passing it around the back is not a problem to us because normally we would let them do that as it is not hurting us but we asked them to press today for fitness. And we did look quite fit to be fair so that is a positive.

“So we finished on a positive but the first half was unacceptable and in our division you will get badly hurt. Today we didn't.

“In the first half we could have been hurt but in the second half I can't remember how many times they went into our box. But to be fair to them, they were passing around the back so it is a double-edged sword.”

Watford have scored just once in their last three pre-season games and when asked if it concerned him, Dyche replied: “It is a strange one.

“We do carry a threat, particularly from set piece with the height and power we have, and I thought Marvin Sordell was exceptional on Tuesday night for most of the game and was unlucky not to score.”

“So I am surprised, lets hope they are saving them up,” Dyche added.