Watford’s players were told “what they deserved to hear” by Marco Silva as they trailed Southampton 2-0 during a miserable half-time interval at Vicarage Road.
The head coach let his voice do the talking at the break and told his listless troops some home truths, following a first 45 where they had seemed to lose every second ball and 50/50.
His words did the trick, along with a switch to a 4-4-2 he also credited with their subsequent comeback, as Andre Gray and Abdoulaye Doucoure struck to earn the Hornets a point.
“I told the players what they deserved to hear at that moment,” said Silva. “Everyone could see what was happening. Anywhere, even away from home, you cannot put a lack of effort in or play with fear.
“Attitude and commitment you always need to have, and there’s no reason to be scared because we are playing at home.
“I told them what everyone needed to hear, there was more, obviously, but that will stay in the dressing room.
“I think we deserved the result. We did well in the second half, but we were really bad in the first half.
“In a moment we didn’t play with the right mentality or attitude, they scored. And after that we didn’t play any more. We just saw our opponent playing too easily.
“I told them it was important to recognise our team at all moments, everyone in the stands could see what we’ve been doing. In the first half we didn’t do that, but we did in the second.”
Doucoure’s goal, replays have shown, was a clear handball which Silva admitted had presented a welcome stroke of luck for his side.
“It was a handball but it’s the first moment I can remember having a decision like that for us.
“We had more than a couple of games with some mistakes, this can happen with referees, but I can understand our opponents being frustrated.
“It was important we scored then and maybe if it’d come earlier we might have been able to do more.”