Hayden Mullins opted to take the positives from Watford Under-23s 1-0 Premier League Cup defeat against Blackburn Rovers.

Lewis Mansell scored the only goal of Monday’s clash which saw Watford produce a spirited display against their Cat 1 opposition.

His players’ showing delighted Mullins, and he had nothing but praise for the young Hornets in the wake of the defeat.

“I told the boys I thought they were brilliant and they took on board all the messages we spoke about,” he told the Watford website.

“We looked disciplined, the shape looked really good and we looked a threat at times with our pace. It’s just disappointing not to get something from the game.

“The boys were excellent and there are a lot of positives to take tonight.

“We expected them to be big, strong and physical and it’s testament to our boys that we did so well to stay in the game in the first half.

“I think we deserved a lot more on the back of the second half. I think we looked very good from the off.”

Watford lost 6-1 against Blackburn in their previous meeting with them earlier this season and put in a much more composed display.

Mullins was, therefore, pleased with what he saw and praised the manner in which Watford battled until the final throws.

“I think we looked very good from the off. We spoke at half-time and I think the boys came out and responded really well,” he said.

"We were much improved tonight, right up until the last kick of the game.”

Watford will have a chance to take on opposition of a similar quality when they face Southampton at Vicarage Road on Thursday evening.

The Hornets have already beaten the Saints this season and Mullins believes his side’s next Premier League Cup will provide a good test.

“We play Southampton at Vicarage Road and that’s a good game for us,” he explained. “They are a decent side. It’s a great competition as it allows us to play against Cat 1 sides we don’t really get exposed to.”