Walter Mazzarri says Stoke used Watford’s own successful tactics against them to win 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes brought Jonathan Walters into his starting line-up to play in a three-man attack alongside Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri, while Mame Diouf and Erik Pieters acted as wingers.
The tactical change mirrored Watford’s 3-4-3 formation that helped secure a 2-1 win over Leicester City last weekend.
And it paid off for the away side, who were able to seal the win thanks to an own-goal from Heurelho Gomes, but Mazzarri believes his Watford team deserved more.
“I didn’t think it went our way, we didn’t play well in the first half but also it was because of Stoke,” Mazzarri told Sky Sports.
“Stoke changed their tactics, they played very well in the first half but in the second half we played much better.”
The Potters are still two points behind Watford in the Premier League table despite their victory, but Mazzarri believes Stoke are capable of a higher finish.
“They are a very good team, their position in the table does not reflect the payers they have. They played the same formation as us today in order to stop us.
“Of course we had a strong team in front of us but in the second half we played much better. We deserved at least a draw.”
Mazzarri also defended himself after forgetting to shake Hughes’ hand at the full-time whistle, which prompted a disappointed reaction from the Stoke boss, insisting “I was very angry at that moment with the referee”.