It's tough to be too harsh on a Watford side strung together from the walking wounded at Stoke City last night, despite an uninspiring 2-0 defeat at the Bet365 Stadium.

Having been rightly criticised for showing so little desire for the Hornets shirt in Sunday's mauling by Spurs, it was a pleasure to see Walter Mazzarri's side give their all on a cold Tuesday night in Staffordshire - albeit to limited effect.

Stoke themselves were poor, it must be said. They had little in the way of creativity, and while Marko Arnautovic had plenty of running and guile, he had barely any end product, while both of the hosts' goals were entirely avoidable. It was schoolboy stuff.

Here's how we rated the Hornets:

Heurelho Gomes - 7 
Little chance with either goal having been unsighted by Mame Diouf for the opener, and made some smart saves from Walters and Crouch. More confident punching than normal and looked remarkably assured.

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

Younes Kaboul - 6
Is this the same player who looked like a park footballer on Sunday? Kept Marko Arnautovic fairly quiet in both halves.

Sebastian Prodl - 5
A really, really poor mistake for the second goal. This is the first time he hasn't been our highest-rated defender in some time; he was a lot better than his performance last night.

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

Miguel Britos - 6
Great block on Arnautovic in the first half and played fairly well, although was (understandably) beaten a fair amount by Peter Crouch from aerial balls.

Christian Kabasele - 6
More for heart than anything, it seems harsh to score him down for being a centre-back playing at right wing-back, because he will just never be one. Looked unconfident when attacking down the flank but didn't get skinned too many times.

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

Adlene Guedioura - 5
Not even half an effort to track Ryan Shawcross at the corner and generally didn't do enough to speed up the game in the midfield.

Etienne Capoue - 5
Difficult to remember whether his movement has declined during the season because it's been so static for so long - but you'd imagine it must have since he's still Watford's top scorer. Another to offer little.

Valon Behrami - 6
Somehow made it to half-time after shaking off a knock around 35 minutes in, but should never have started. The gamble backfired and it's not as though Stoke ever overran Watford's midfield when he had gone off. Hobbling after full-time so may have caused more damage than it saved.

Abdoulaye Doucoure - 7
Very bright in spells, forced the best save of the game from Lee Grant just after half-time and linked up well with the midfield. Always wanted the ball and looked far better than he did against Spurs. Why has he been on the sidelines for so long?

Troy Deeney - 5
Again looks sluggish and had a good chance to play in Odion Ighalo after the break, but his ball was so poor he made it impossible for the Nigerian. Had the ball around the area a few times but did absolutely nothing with it.

Substitutes

Watford Observer: Picture: Action Images

Odion Ighalo (for Behrami, 46) - 5
Had one chance which was ruined by a sluggish pass from Deeney, taking all the pace out of the attack. Did little else.

Jerome Sinclair (for Guedioura, 69) - 6
Didn't see too much of the ball but did press the Stoke backline, winning a corner at one stage which he then nearly scored from. Could prove an increasingly useful impact sub.

Michael Folivi (for Prodl, 81) - N/A