Tony Mowbray felt there was a nervousness about his central defensive partnership with some ‘pretty soft’ goals conceded in the defeat to Watford.

Mowbray felt the visitors dealt the conditions better than his side, the manager again going with a central defensive pairing of loanees Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jarrad Branthwaite.

The first goal in particular was a mess from a Rovers point of view, Branthwaite appealing for offside while being the man to play Joao Pedro onside, the striker getting to the ball before Thomas Kaminski to loft the ball into the empty net.

Ismaila Sarr scored a second from close range as Rovers failed to clear a right-wing cross, while the third, scored by Ken Sema, saw the visitors play their way through the Rovers defence.

It was the second successive match in which Mowbray had named his two loanees as a pairing, with Darragh Lenihan again missing with a rib injury.

And Mowbray said: “I thought they were really good at the weekend, but I felt there was a little nervousness about the conditions, it was a brutal night for a defender really, which is why I was screaming for them to put the ball in their box and let their defenders try and defend.

“Their second goal was a case of that, it was just a cross in that we didn’t make a good contact on, it bobbled around the six-yard box and it was in.

“It wasn’t a great night for defenders to have to defend with the incessant rain and the pitch not bouncing, it was a difficult night for defenders and I felt a little bit of uncertainty and nervousness.

“It’s the second game in a row they’ve played together, is it understandable? I think so.

“They were never brought here to be our central defensive partnership, Lenihan, Ayala, Wharton, Williams, they would be all in the equation, but here they are thrown into this equation because we need to do that.”

Rovers twice got themselves back into the game as Harvey Elliott and Ben Brereton reduced the arrears, the latter coming eight minutes from time as the hosts chased a late equaliser.

“When you play against good teams, we were giving it a go from the off but some times good teams pick the right pass, turn you around at the right times, but the goals we lost were pretty soft,” the manager added.

“The first one is a lob over the top that didn’t bounce, the ‘keeper gets caught in no man’s land and on another day it would run straight through to him and he’d pick it up on the edge of the box.

“Maybe they played the conditions a bit better than us, but a frustrating night, yet we could have got an equaliser late on when it was bouncing around their six-yard box, I thought Jarrad was maybe going to score at the back stick.

“Whether we’d have deserved it I’m not sure because they’re a good side and pushing hard to try and make automatic promotion.”

While Rovers were suffering a fifth consecutive defeat, Watford  are making strides going the other way, the win at Ewood Park a fourth straight victory that has boosted their automatic promotion hopes.

Mowbray said: “You feel their quality, feel the speed, strength, the individuality and I thought the team competed really well for the vast majority of the game.

“I would rather lose those games having a go, playing on the front foot, trying to press them, trying to attack rather than sitting 10 men behind the ball and trying to get a 0-0 but never looking like scoring.

“I have to accept it’s another defeat, against a pretty good team.”