Mark Hughes admitted Stoke were “very poor” as Watford ended the Potters’ recent fine run by leaving the Britannia Stadium with a 2-0 win.
Stoke were guilty of errors when both goals went in, the first seeing Philipp Wollscheid slip as Troy Deeney shaped to shoot and the second Odion Ighalo feed Almen Abdi having dispossessed Marc Wilson, who had come on early for the injured Geoff Cameron.
The Potters had gone into the contest on a three-match winning run in the Premier League and boss Hughes was left mystified by the performance his players produced on his 100th game in charge at the club.
“We were poor today, and credit to Watford,” Hughes said.
“They came here with a good game plan and worked hard at it. They had a good threat up top with the two lads (Deeney and Ighalo) up front, who messed us around all day long to be honest.
“We needed to be better and we did not really see that performance coming. We have been playing well of late and getting good results.
“You have to put it down to individual errors, collective errors and the good play of the opposition.”
Regarding Cameron, who limped off in the ninth minute, Hughes added: “It looks like he has pulled his thigh unfortunately.
“I think it is fair to say that probably disrupted us, but we can’t hide behind that. There were good players on the pitch today and we should have done better.”