Brighton & Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton was satisfied by his team's endeavour today against Watford - but was left to rue another game without a goal, as Watford keeper Heurelho Gomes made three crucial saves to deny Albion.
Former Spurs keeper Gomes denied Chris O'Grady in the first half, then made a super double save to keep out Craig Mackail-Smith and Joe Bennett in stoppage time - seconds before the visitors broke away to make it 2-0.
Hughton told seagulls.co.uk, "I cannot fault the players for what they gave and also in making the system work.
"However with the number of opportunities and the amount of crosses that we got into the box and in the final third, we needed to make more of them; if you don't then it makes it difficult.
"Anybody watching the game today would have thought that our level of performance was good. If I look at the difference between the two teams, it is that we had enough good chances but at the moment we are not putting them away.
"The likes of Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich have put enough of them away to win matches and we have just not been doing that."
LATEST NEWS FROM SEAGULLS.CO.UK
- NEW DEALS FOR CALDERON AND ANKERGREN
- CALDERON'S DELIGHT AT NEW DEAL
- REPORT: ALBION 0 WATFORD 2
- ALBION AND SUSSEX COUNTY CRICKET CLUB JOIN FORCES
- AITC LAUNCH SMOKE FREE INTIATIVE
Hughton sprung a surprise by matching Watford's 3-5-2 formation, with Mustapha Carayol deployed alongside O'Grady in attack.
"I wanted to try something different today because of where we are at this moment. We felt that we could give the players a real challenge by matching the shape that they play and by giving real responsibility to the players on the pitch.
"I changed the system and it was testament to our performance that they changed their system mid-way through the first half.
"They started the game with two players who have got twenty goals each this season and generally they find a way of scoring: be it a scrappy goal and a fight in the box where something bounces to them, or they show that bit of composure; they did that again today.
"Once we conceded the goal – and it was a poor goal – that gave them the opportunity to work off a solid base. At 0-0 they still had to open up as it was a game where they would have felt that they had to win."
Meanwhile Hughton admitted he'd have loved to have seen striker Mackail-Smith sign off at the Amex with a goal.
"Everybody would have liked to see Craig finish with a goal. First and foremost because it would have got us back into the game but also for him as well.
"In my period of time here he has been excellent. It has been a difficult year for him in terms of getting as many games as he would have liked and then he got the injury and it took some time for Craig to get back to doing what we know he can do.
"I think his demeanour has been excellent and he has given everything he can and we wish him all the best."