SAINTS boss Mauricio Pellegrino admitted his side was off the pace during their 2-0 home defeat against Watford.

Pellegrino’s side suffered a repeat of the scoreline against Wolves when they last played at St Mary’s in the League Cup.

He said: “It was tough for everyone, especially in the first half. In our other games we created a lot of chances, this was our most difficult game so far.

“They were better at us at reacting to the second ball, they were always one second earlier than us.

“They scored two soft goals in my view, we have to try to avoid these and learn from it.

“It was a difficult game to analyse. We were much better in the second half but we have to improve.

“I felt we were a little low in energy from some of the players after the internationals.

“It’s not easy after long trips and flights following international competition.

“But we have to learn from this because we have another three international breaks.

“I’m obviously not happy with our performance, sometimes the opponent is better than you.

“Congratulations to Watford but we have to keep going and keep working.”

Watford’s Kiko Femenia was taken to hospital after limping off, but their manager Marco Silva was delighted with his side's second away win in as many games, following their win at Bournemouth by the same scoreline three weeks ago.

He said: “We deserved the three points. We controlled the match and it’s not easy to do that at Southampton against a good team.

“They had a lot of possession but we controlled everything.”