So many questions for the Millers, not least about the manager's job ... reflections on Watford 5 Rotherham United 0
By then, those who had booed and called for manager Matt Taylor's head had left.
Just the old faithful and a beaten, battered team were applauding each other at Vicarage Road. It would almost have been sweet had the occasion not been so bitter.
“We want Taylor out, say we want Taylor out,” had been the second-half chant that had drifted as far as the boss's ears on the touchline.
“Do I like it? No,” he said. “Do I understand it? Yes. You can't hide away from that fact. When you get beat 5-0 you've got very little in the way of excuses as a manager.”
He used the phrase, ‘can't hide away from’, repeatedly during his post-match interview.
“We had the right bodies on the pitch to start with and then we find ourselves 2-0 down," he said. “Then you've got to chase the game. The second half unravelled into such a difficult period of time with the injuries and goals against us. There was naivety and mistakes in the group.”
Injuries, three more of them on Saturday in a campaign wracked by casualties.
Sam Clucas departed just after the half-hour mark, substitute Cafu limped off before the end and left his team, all substitutions having been made, down to ten men, sub Daniel Ayala lasted until the final whistle but, like the other two, had sustained hamstring damage.
Talking of damage, “It's the manner of the hammer blows and the feeling of the away performances,” Taylor said.
“These away performances keep on coming and the scorelines keep on coming and it's just: ‘What's next?’
“We put out the bodies we thought could get through the game. Some of them couldn't, clearly. Some of them came on as subs and couldn't even do that. I can't hide away from the fact that a three-game week takes its toll on this group of players.”
Following home draws with Queens Park Rangers and Ipswich Town, he thought his side had been competitive until the interval and had been undone by two out-of-the-blue blasts caused by poor defending.
“The fans must think I'm talking b*llocks but we were in the game in the first half, then Watford went bang, bang,” he said of Mileta Rajovic's tenth-minute and stoppage-time strikes before the break.
After it, the Hornets went bang, bang, bang. A defeat wouldn't necessarily have heaped pressure on Taylor just over a year into his job. The tameness of it, after previous no-shows on the road, certainly did.
Rajovic's brace, accumulated when he was afforded far too much time and space to convert Ken Sema crosses, and further goals from Edo Kayemba Paul Ince and Matheus Martins, the last two of which came in the final ten minutes, left Rotherham in 22nd spot, four points adrift of safety, going into the international break.
Sam Nombe got at the opposition backline in the opening period, Ollie Rathbone, Christ Tiehi and Cohen Bramall weren't found wanting. The rest didn't make it difficult enough for the Hornets.
Between Watford goals, Cafu brought a save from Ben Hamer with a thumping free-kick, and Nombe blazed over while Ayala nodded a corner tamely at the goalkeeper and also headed wide.
“That's the most we have had the ball for a long time away from home,” he said. “We didn't use it well enough at times. It finished 5-0 and you can't hide away from that fact.
“If you can't defend, you can't defend. We haven't defended away from home at any stage this season.”
He thought back again to that first half when the Millers, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation instead of 4-3-3 in an attempt to be more productive up top and stiffer at the back, had to maintain a foothold in the contest to have any chance of success.
“The goals came out of nothing,” he said. “It wasn't as if it was pressure, pressure, pressure and Viktor Johansson save, save, save. The game was going on, we're a goal down; the game was going on again, two goals down. Jesus wept.
“You've got to chase it, second half. We did that and we opened up the space for a very good counter-attacking team.”
Standing pitchside in the fading light, he had to answer questions about his Rotherham future, not knowing if he had one or not.
“I've brought in some of those players,” he said. “It's not just on them, it's on me as well.”
It was hard not to feel for a principled man enduring his toughest time.
Nowhere to hide.
Watford (4-3-3): Ben Hamer; Ryan Andrews, Ryan Porteous, Wesley Hoedt, Jamal Lewis (Tom Ince 68); Edo Kayembe, Jake Livermore (Giorgi Chakvetadze 68), Ismael Kone (Tom Dele-Bashiru 88); Yaser Asprilla (Matheus Martins 68), Mileta Rajovic (Rhys Healey 84), Ken Sema. Subs not used: Myles Roberts, Imran Louza, Mattie Pollock, Vakoun Bayo.
Rotherham (3-5-2): Viktor Johansson; Lee Peltier (Georgie Kelly 70), Sean Morrison (Daniel Ayala 52), Cohen Bramall; Dexter Lembikisa, Ollie Rathbone, Christ Tiehi, Sam Clucas (Cafu 33), Seb Revan (Fred Onyedinma 52); Jordan Hugill (Hakeem Odoffin 70), Sam Nombe. Subs not used: Dillon Phillips, Jamie Lindsay, Arvin Appiah, Tom Eaves.
Goals: Rajovic 10, 45+4, Kayemba 54, Ince 86, Martins 90+4 (Watford).
Referee: Stephen Martin (Staffordshire).