Slaven Bilic played down Ismaila Sarr's Watford absence amid Everton transfer links.
Sarr was granted time off after Senegal crashed out of the World Cup last 16 at the hands of England.
Bilic had hoped that the forward would be available for Watford's clash against Hull City on Sunday when he addressed the media two days earlier. The Hornets were held to a 0-0 draw.
Sarr, 24, has recently been linked with a £35 million move to Everton as Frank Lampard aims to bolster his attacking options. But Bilic would not be drawn in on speculation about Sarr's future.
He told the Watford Observer: “I said what I had to say on Friday, and that’s enough. I don’t really want to say much more. We expected him back yesterday and I hoped he would be involved today.
“Of course, we miss Sarr. If had been here yesterday, of course, I would have played him. He didn’t come, he wasn’t at training yesterday, so he was out. From then on, I was totally concentrated on the game.
“I hoped he would be here, he wasn’t here, so that’s it. Of course, I expect him back this week. I expected him back even earlier. I know it is a very interesting story for the media, but I said what I said already. I don’t want to say anymore.”
Sarr’s Senegal team-mate Iliman Ndiaye was back in time to help Sheffield United to a 1-0 defeat of Huddersfield.
Sarr has recorded six goals and three assists during Watford’s push for immediate promotion back to the Premier League.