Watford manager Vladimir Ivic declared he was happy with his side’s performance in the 2-0 home win over Rotherham despite a marked lack of quality after the break.
The Hornets moved up to third thanks to two goals in the opening 15 minutes from Christian Kabasele and captain Troy Deeney.
Watford dominated the first 45 minutes but the home supporters in the stands behind each goal weren’t treated to much in the way of entertainment in the second half.
Ivic said: “We need to be serious from the first to the last minute.
“We spoke during half-time and asked them to start the second half like the first one. Why we started the second half like that is a big question.
“We need to be able to play for 95, 97, 98 minutes. If you just want to play for 65 minutes we have players on the bench.
“We need to speak and we need to work. We need to speak for a lot of time every day. I understand that sometimes players relax but I am not someone who likes that.
“But I don’t speak against them. We are happy with three points and I am happy with our performance in the first 45 minutes. We created a lot of chances and we need to continue that and use it in the next games.”
Deeney, who missed the start of the season through injury, took his goal tally to two for the season as well as claiming an assist for Kabasele’s first goal in three years.
Ivic added: “Game by game Troy gets more confidence and more power and his condition is better than two or three weeks ago.”
Rotherham remain two points above the drop zone but three of the four clubs below them have the chance to overtake them when they play on Wednesday night.
Manager Paul Warne conceded his players had been disappointing in the opening exchanges.
He said: “Maybe we showed them a little too much respect.
“We changed our system but it was more about encouraging them to be a bit braver. Our wing-backs pressed higher up the pitch, which allowed us to cause them more problems.
“But for them to score so early, one from a set-piece and then a mistake, probably winded our lads’ confidence a little bit.
“We were playing 3-5-2 but then we went into a 4-5-1 because we were getting murdered down our left side. Both our left-backs are out with long-term injuries so I’ve got a centre mid playing left-back, bless him.
“They had pace all over the pitch so we had to change our system. The players went out and performed really well in the second half so I couldn’t be prouder.”