Ben Watson conceded Watford were distinctly second best at Loftus Road this afternoon and assured fans they will be poring over a re-run in a bid to put right some fundamental wrongs.
The Hornets were beaten for the first time under new boss Walter Mazzarri but it was the manner of the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Queens Park Rangers that was alarming.
Watford’s three-man defence looked rocky throughout and the 3-5-2 formation looked like it needed some further work on the training ground. Watford were largely toothless in attack, although Odion Ighalo had a first-half effort cleared off the line and Adlene Guedioura went close at the death.
“It was a tough game,” said Watson. “We knew it would be as they are a few weeks ahead of us [in terms of fitness and form]. They were back early. I spoke to a friend of mine and they were back on the 20th of June and their season starts next week. We knew they would be right fired up and that it was an important game for them.”
That was evident by the way the rampaging Sebastian Polter robbed Miguel Britos inside five minutes. There is a school of thought, however, that Watford were heavy legged because of the double sessions they have been doing and that the plan is to peak for the Southampton game – not QPR in a friendly.
“Listen, it’s pre-season friendlies,” said Watson in an attempt to mute the alarm. “These things happen. We have got to learn from it. We go over the game we play, we learn from our mistakes and we make sure they don’t happen again. That will be the case again. We will look over the game, look at what we did wrong and put it right. You are going to make mistakes – that’s football. Everyone makes mistakes. You don’t mean to but everybody does. It’s important we learn from them and they don’t happen again.”
Watford have had something of a gentle pre-season programme, pitting themselves against Woking, Stevenage, Union Berlin and Anzhi Makhachkala. They look undercooked. This was QPR’s seventh friendly ahead of their opener against Leeds United on Sunday.
“It’s not a reality check,” said Watson. “QPR were just better than us, simple as that. You go into every game wanting top win it but that’s not going to happen. I’d rather lose in pre-season than in the season. We’ve still got a couple of weeks, so we’ll learn from it and we’ll improve for the next game.”