OFF days happen and patience is needed as Saints find their way under new management.

But Mauricio Pellegrino is in need of firmer signs of progress – or risk failing to capitalise on favourable early fixtures.

The Saints boss has always been adamant that stamping his ideas and ethos on to the team won't be an easy or quick process.

It's shown itself in fits and starts over these first four Premier League games.

But the defeat against Watford really felt like a step backwards, mainly because the visitors arrived in similar circumstances but were more advanced in their evolution.

It was against Marco Silva – a manager also four league games in to his tenure, that Pellegrino's team struggled to demonstrate progress.

The same can't be said for Silva's side, which was organised, well-drilled and cohesive.

Saints just didn't have that in them on this day and just couldn't cope with the Hornets' game.

Kudos to Silva for that.

Granted, Pellegrino and captain Steven Davis insisted it was just an off day for Saints.

And fair enough, off days do happen.

But it's really not what the club needed right now, when they're battling to introduce this new style and show that they’re moving forward from some of the reservations over their way of playing of last term.

The supporters showed their frustration on Saturday, booing loudly at half-time, when Manolo Gabbiadini was substituted and when the full-time whistle went against Watford.

Largely, they're impatient to see the club demonstrating the fashionable and exciting football the team played under Mauricio Pochettino and Ronald Koeman.

But this was also restlessness over lack of progress from what Claude Puel’s side were producing last season, which was often accused of being negative.

However, as Pellegrino works out his best system, with the best blend of players, it is unsurprising that Saints might produce a bad display.

This was just simply a poor performance, but Pellegrino says he needs time to change things to what he wants, which is a more attacking, free flowing brand of football.

Time is of the essence, however.

When you see Silva's team playing in his image, it's hard to wonder why Pellegrino's aren't really clicking yet.

You might be inclined to point to recruitment at this point – did Saints need a creative force to really inject some life in to this struggling attacking line?

Certainly the fact that their only shot on target against Watford came in stoppage time in the second half suggest so.

But, Pellegrino says his team are competitive as they are, so he's just got to find the right combination of players.

And it seems a few experiments, failed or otherwise are taking place.

We've briefly seen a 3-4-3 formation in the 2-0 defeat to Wolves in the League Cup – a failed experiment undoubtedly, but one that could make a return with different personnel.

Against the Hornets, Pellegrino deployed Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond either side of James Ward-Prowse just behind lone striker Gabbiadini as an attacking midfield three.

It didn't really happen for them there, with Ward-Prowse finding it hard to have much influence directly behind Gabbiadini.

Boufal and Redmond's impact was also very limited as Watford's midfield three, including the impressive Nathaniel Chalobah and Abdoulaye Doucoure, acted as a powerful unit, which often saw Davis and Oriol Romeu restricted and unable to reach Saints’ forward players.

Saints' full-backs, Cedric Soares and Ryan Bertrand, were often also hemmed in with South American wingers Richarlison and Andre Carrillo full of running and ideas.

Cedric especially found it hard to get forward with Richarlison direct, strong and unpredictable on Watford’s left.

Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt in the middle at the back were a decent unit together – and probably the only positive to take from this game from a Saints perspective.

Stephens just looks more mature every game he plays this term, while Hoedt, on his debut, was often composed and comfortable in possession.

There are good signs for the future there, and with Virgil van Dijk and Maya Yoshida also options, there is definitely an argument to switch to three centre backs.

So while Saints struggled to really impose themselves and Watford – often contained by an organised Saints backline, it is no surprise that the two goals in this game came from range.

The first arrived on 38 minutes when the ball pitched up for Doucoure to drill home, the bounce skimming off the slick surface, before flying past Fraser Forster, who may have seen the shot from 25 yards late through a crowded box.

It was a goal that Saints just didn't seem prepared to concede, and didn't really react to, finishing the half still trying work out how to break out of the pressing game Watford had brought to St Mary's.

Pellegrino scrapped his initial experiment with the front three, bringing on more familiar incumbent Dusan Tadic for Ward-Prowse at the break.

It didn't yield any better results with the boss often seen hands on hips in his technical area, pondering his next move to get the goals flowing.

It just didn't happen though, this game representing their eighth blank in nine games.

It remains that Gabbiadini's strike against West Ham is the only one from open play this season.

Pellegrino needs his team to be inspired by his methods – and the sooner the better.

Another disappointing result at struggling Crystal Palace this Saturday would be far from ideal, especially with Manchester United coming to St Mary's the week after.

Pellegrino will continue to experiment with new ideas and study how to make this Saints team tick and evolve.

Patience is important for that to happen.

But after watching often slow and conservative football last season, the appetite for a change at St Mary's is high.

As Saints toiled with their way in against Watford, the visitors struck again, further elevating the angst at St Mary’s.

This time, substitute Janmaat was given time and space on the right to pick his spot and drive a swerving effort past a stranded Forster and home with 66 minutes on the clock.

Pellegrino wasted no time in acting, bringing on Shane Long and then Charlie Austin.

But the game was lost at this point and certainly well beyond the hosts as Cedric smacked a low drive, which Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes reacted well to save, to record Saints’ only shot on target.