Edwards working to give Watford a winning mentality

While pre-season friendly games are little more than training games, the need to create a positive mindset and get on the front foot with good results is still important.

The Hornets have now lost twice and drawn once, scoring just a solitary goal in the process.

Head coach Rob Edwards said he would not be offering any excuses and will be focusing on what is required to start scoring and winning.

“I spoke to the players straight after the game and said we have to find that winning mentality,” he said. “We have to start games in the way we started the second half of the game against Bolton.

“We want to win games and to do that we have to score, obviously. We have to start finding a way to do that.

“We did create good chances against Bolton and their keeper has made a couple of great saves. But we have to find a way of scoring, and we have to do that quickly.”

Is one goal in three games a reason to worry?

“I’m not overly concerned about it at this stage as we are creating chances,” explained Edwards. “I believe that will be converted into goals.

“But we also have to work hard to cut out the individual errors. Bolton punished us and teams will punish your errors. We have to sharpen up in both boxes.

“We’re only three weeks away from the start of the season, and we want to sharpen up our performances and build the belief that takes us into that first game in a good place.”

The friendly with Bolton was played in a very hot and muggy environment – certainly not an advert for summer football – and came only 48 hours after the draw with Panathinaikos in Austria.

However, Edwards was in no mood to use of those circumstances as a defense for the result.

“We had a tough week in Austria, played on Sunday and then flew home late, and then trained yesterday. But I’m pretty sure Bolton have been working equally hard so we can’t those things as excuses,” he said.

“The conditions were stifling but they were just as hot and sticky for Bolton.

“Pre-season is meant to be hard, it’s meant to challenge the players so that we can see who is up for it and who is on their game. We’re looking at who we can trust, and I found out a little bit more today.”

The head coach held his hands up when reflecting on the Hornets’ sluggish start against Bolton.

“We were too passive in the first half and I blame myself for that,” he said.

“I’ll look back at the analysis but I think we were a bit slow in the press. I think that’s down to the language I used and the way I set us up, because we were definitely too passive.

“We were more aggressive after half time, and that meant we became the dominant team who were doing more pushing.

“But we let them get on the front foot early on and I’ll take responsibility for that. I’ll be making sure that doesn’t happen in any other game.”

Bolton’s first goal is not one that keeper Daniel Bachmann will be keen to watch back on tape, after his heavy touch in controlling a back pass presented Kieran Lee with the ball.

“The first goal was just comical,” admitted Edwards. “It’s better if that sort of thing happens in pre-season. I’d rather get that sort of thing out of our system now.

“I was disappointed with the second goal too. I want to look back at it on video but my initial feeling was our line of defense was wrong. We had people too high and others playing them onside.

“So I want to look again at how that second goal happened, but as I’ve said before for any goal we concede there will probably be at least three mistakes in the build-up. We need to identify them and work to remove them.

“In the second half we created a lot of good chances but couldn’t get the ball over the line.

“We certainly asked more questions of them after half time. The dynamic of the team changed because Sarr came on and he stretches teams by getting into wide areas. But we have to start turning chances into goals.”

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