Watford under-23 professional development coach Hayden Mullins has described Monday's 3-0 defeat to Leeds United as a "learning period" after his side were comfortably outplayed.

The Hornets had four trialists in their starting lineup, while Leeds fielded established professionals, including Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown, who scored one goal and was involved in the conception of the other two.

However, Mullins believes there were plenty of positives for his side to focus on, despite the result.

He told the club website: "They are a good side and this is a massive learning period for us.

“We haven’t got a team of pros, we’ve got a team of scholars and trialists. We’ve have got a young side and they have come up against some good players.

"Tom Leighton has come up against Izzy Brown, the right back [Jamie Shackleton] and the number 10 [Mateusz Bogusz] have been involved with the first team.

"It’s so good for our lads and you can often get bogged down by the result and that clouds your judgement, but the positives are we’ve had someone like Imaad Sankoh, a first year scholar, getting so much game time. He’ll learn so much from this.”

Mullins singled out Striker Jayden Bennetts for praise following the game and said the striker was developing well.

He said: "Jayden has done really well again.

"I see him in training every day but you only really learn about them in games and I think he’s one who has handled it well and come to the fore.

“Jayden is good when he gets the ball at his feet in good areas as he can play some lovely passes. He can also link the play well. We played him higher today and he looked after the ball well."

The development coach spoke of the youth team's focus on the FA Youth Cup, in which Watford have reached the semi-final.

Ahead of the game, Mullins has said he is trying to make sure all are fit and ready to play.

He said: “We have to look after them. We played extra-time on Wednesday and then we had a game on Friday and that was just too soon for some of them.

"We had to put a few on the bench just to make up the numbers. We are trying to get them through and the focus for that group is obviously the semi-final of the Youth Cup.

"Dan Phillips would definitely have been involved today if he was right, but he’s got a bit of a knock. Cassidy has also got a knock.”