DOUGIE Freedman appealed for calm among fans after suffering a nightmare opening day defeat at Watford.

There was no disguising the disappointment felt by 1,200 travelling fans at Vicarage Road, who had journeyed south in the hope of kicking off the season with a win.

Boos rang out after an inept first half display, while fans chanted loudly for the manager to “sort it out.”

Freedman was at a loss to explain just how his side had started so poorly, surrendering a 2-0 lead to the Hornets inside 24 minutes.

Things improved slightly in the second period but Fernando Forestieri still managed a third for the impressive Hornets, looking every inch a team that could challenge for honours this season.

What lies in store for Wanderers is a different matter – but Freedman asked for fans to put the result into context and reserve judgement for now.

“We can’t get too disappointed, you have to keep calm,” he said. “There is a game on Tuesday and another on Saturday – and hopefully after those games we’ll be feeling a little bit better.

“There is a very disappointed group of players in that dressing room. And I know the fans will be disappointed too.

“We need to dust ourselves off and go again. It was a performance that was very unlike us and I’d like to think I won’t see that again, or at least make sides work for their opportunities.”

It proved a particularly difficult day for Dean Moxey, the former Crystal Palace full-back making his competitive Wanderers debut.

The summer signing was replaced on 60 minutes by fellow defender Dorian Dervite – although Freedman explained that the decision had been based on an injury.

“I don’t want to make excuses for him but he got a kick up his heel 10 minutes into the game and in the end it forced him off,” he said. “It definitely stopped us attacking down that left hand side and using his pace.”

Freedman was relatively encouraged by the second half display: “At least we rolled our sleeves up and some of the players looked like they wanted to give it a go,” he added.

But Freedman insisted that the result had not changed his mind about the areas in his squad that needed improvement. “We are where we are,” said the Whites boss, who is expected to step up his search for an attacker this week. It’s no use me coming out and saying I need to sign a new player every time we have an indifferent performance.

“We know what players we have got and the bottom line is that we have to improve on what we did at Watford.

“I don’t get too up when I win a game, I don’t get too down when I lose one. But I’d like to think we learn.

“We stuck together, tried to get going and with a little bit of luck might have got something but if you are going to defend that way you won’t win a lot of games.”