Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho felt it was “unfair” his side only came away from Vicarage Road with a draw after they were held by resurgent Watford, who missed a penalty.
Troy Deeney saw his spot-kick saved, but the Hornets extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to seven matches.
Paulo Gazzaniga dived low to his right to deny the Watford captain following Jan Vertonghen’s handball in the second half.
But Mourinho told BT Sport afterwards: “I think we deserved to win this match. To lose would have been too harsh on the boys.”
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster saved from Nathaniel Chalobah and Lucas Moura before half-time to thwart Spurs, who have now gone four league games without a win.
“The result is unfair. I think it would have been more unfair if we lost,” added Mourinho, whose side have now gone four matches without a win.
“We had the control of the game, especially in the first half. We arrived in dangerous positions. We created chances but we did not manage to score.”
Deeney had headed a good chance straight at Gazzaniga just before the break, while Abdoulaye Doucoure shot into the side-netting early in the second half.
Watford substitute Ignacio Pussetto, making his debut for the club, cleared an Erik Lamela effort off the line in stoppage time at the end of the match.
Winger Pussetto, a £7m signing from Udinese, had only been on the pitch for just over a minute when he slid in to hook away with almost the whole ball over the goalline.
The Hornets, who were bottom of the table when manager Nigel Pearson took over in December, move up to 16th, while Spurs are seventh.
Watford’s revival continues
The turnaround in Watford’s form since Pearson’s arrival has been put down to several factors, from the manager’s attention to detail around the club off the pitch to a simple, hard-working ethic on it.
The latter was in evidence again throughout an encounter that lacked out-and-out excitement but still bristled with tension, with both sides keen to avoid defeat at the very least.
That matters now seem to be going Watford’s way under Pearson was indicated when the ball appeared to strike Craig Cathcart on the hand inside the hosts’ area in only the second minute, but referee Michael Oliver ignored Spurs’ claims for a penalty.
And Pussetto’s dramatic clearance off the line late on, with just a centimetre of the ball still on the goalline, was another hint that the home side have turned a corner.
But Pearson and his players are certain to be frustrated that they could not make more of the few chances that came their way – Ismaila Sarr scooping an early chance comfortably over the bar and Deeney nodding the ball at Gazzaniga before the break.
Watford’s talismanic skipper also failed to put the ball beyond the Spurs keeper’s reach when given the chance from the spot but, despite that disappointment, his side still maintained their excellent run and can move further away from danger when they face struggling Aston Villa on Tuesday.
Spurs lack spark again
Spurs were flat for large parts of the match, most of which they played without Christian Eriksen.
The Denmark playmaker was a 73rd-minute replacement for Dele Alli, but he could not spark his side into a decisive moment at the end of a week where his link with Inter Milan had reignited a feud between Mourinho and the Serie A side’s boss Antonio Conte.
Alli also cut a frustrated figure when he was replaced, the England midfielder having headed one of Spurs’ few decent chances over the Watford crossbar early in the second half.
Mourinho’s side lacked a focal point in the absence of striker Harry Kane, and this third consecutive game without a goal is now the sixth time in a row where they have failed to win in the Premier League when the England captain has not been involved.
With Kane ruled out until at least April with a hamstring injury, these are trends Spurs must address if they are climb back into contention for the Champions League places.
Man of the match – Etienne Capoue (Watford)
‘We did enough to win’ – manager reaction
Watford manager Nigel Pearson: “It was a game we felt we created enough to win. They have had their situations and chances as well. In the first half we did not quite get our pressing as well as we have at late. We grew into the game and started to take more control. We had a good chance to win.”
On the penalty miss: “It’s football. I said to the players I am looking for a performance and we had a good performance today. If we go out with every intention to win the game then we will play well. I am pleased with how we played football today.”
Spurs manager Jose Mourinho: “We played very well. We started the game without a striker but with lots of offensive players.
“I am happy with how we played, our commitment.
“We are not good at adapting to this style of football. We were quite difficult to play.”
Spurs draw a blank again – the stats
- Tottenham have failed to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since November 2013.
- This result ended a run of 93 league games without a 0-0 draw for Tottenham, the second-longest such run in the competition – behind Manchester United’s 114-game sequence that ended in May 2002.
- No side has kept more clean sheets than Watford’s eight in the league this season. However, the Hornets have also failed to score in a league-high 11 matches.
- Tottenham kept their first away clean sheet in the league for 382 days, since winning 3-0 at Cardiff on New Year’s Day 2019.
- There were 32 shots without a goal in this match, the most in the competition since Crystal Palace v Cardiff in December 2018 (40).
- Watford’s Deeney has failed to score three of his past six Premier League penalties.
- As well as being winless in their past six league games without Kane, Tottenham have failed to score in four of those matches.
Watford are away to Aston Villa in the Premier League at 19:30 GMT on Tuesday – and are back in action two days later when their delayed FA Cup third-round replay at Tranmere Rovers takes place at 19:45 on Thursday.
Spurs are at home to Norwich City in the league at 19:30 Wednesday.
- 14ChalobahSubstituted forPereyraat 79′minutes
- 29CapoueBooked at 35mins
- 23SarrSubstituted forPussettoat 89′minutes
- 16DoucouréBooked at 60mins
- 5VertonghenBooked at 69mins
- 39TangangaBooked at 19mins
- 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forCarvalho Fernandesat 80′minutes
- 8WinksBooked at 60mins
- 20AlliSubstituted forEriksenat 73′minutes
- 27Lucas Moura
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 6D Sánchez
- 19R Sessegnon
- 30Carvalho Fernandes
- Michael Oliver
- Shots on Target
Match ends, Watford 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Second Half ends, Watford 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0.
Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Dawson (Watford).
Foul by Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur).
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from very close range is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Serge Aurier with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Erik Lamela.
Attempt missed. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Gedson Fernandes.
Substitution, Watford. Ignacio Pussetto replaces Ismaila Sarr because of an injury.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Watford).
Attempt blocked. Etienne Capoue (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ismaila Sarr.
Attempt missed. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Lucas Moura.
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Christian Eriksen tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Gedson Fernandes (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lucas Moura.
Foul by Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur).
Craig Dawson (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur).
Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Gedson Fernandes replaces Giovani Lo Celso.
Substitution, Watford. Roberto Pereyra replaces Nathaniel Chalobah.
Attempt missed. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu.
Foul by Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur).
Craig Dawson (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Paulo Gazzaniga tries a through ball, but Son Heung-Min is caught offside.
Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Adam Masina (Watford).
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.
Attempt blocked. Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Son Heung-Min.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Christian Eriksen replaces Dele Alli.
Penalty saved! Troy Deeney (Watford) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom left corner.
VAR Decision: Penalty Watford.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Penalty conceded by Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Attempt blocked. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Chalobah.
VAR Decision: No Penalty Tottenham Hotspur.
Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Craig Dawson.
Attempt blocked. Erik Lamela (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Moura.