Sean Dyche jumped to the defence of Jeff Hendrick after the midfielder was shown the first red card of his career at Vicarage Road but felt referee Michael Oliver made the right call.
The Republic of Ireland international was giving his marching orders for a dangerous over-the-ball challenge on Watford’s Jose Holebas after just six minutes of the Premier League fixture.
The Burnley boss accepted the decision, as the Clarets were reduced to 10 men, but denied that there was any malice in the 25-year-old’s attempts to win the ball.
“It’s a tough one,” he said. “In the modern game the ref is under pressure to give it. I’ve looked back at it, there is minimal actual contact, but his foot hits the top of the ball and goes over the top of the ball.
“I think he has to send him off. Days gone by maybe not, but we all know it’s the modern game.”
Dyche added: “It’s more clumsy, it’s not malicious. One foot has gone over and the other comes together to try and clamp on the ball as if he’s going to get nutmegged.
“I don’t think it’s malicious but I understand why the ref gave it.”
However, Dyche felt that the match official should have evened things up at the end of the first half after the home side doubled their advantage.
With M’Baye Niang already on a booking following a rash tackle on full back Stephen Ward, the French forward, on loan from AC Milan, celebrated with the crowd after adding to Troy Deeney’s opener.
Dyche felt the goalscorer’s actions warranted a second yellow card. “My only frustration was the fact that Niang scored and went in the crowd to celebrate,” he said.
“We’re constantly told don’t let your players do that because it’s a cheap caution and we have to give them a yellow card.
“Yet he doesn’t get a second yellow card. That’s the only thing I saw the referee about after, I didn’t have a problem with any of his performance apart from that.”
He added: “We constantly get told don’t take your shirt off when you celebrate because it’s a yellow card and don’t go in the crowd because it’s a yellow card.
“He ran straight into the crowd so I couldn’t work out why he wasn’t yellow carded for that.
“It was a strange one, there is a definition I didn’t know about. You’re allowed to go up to the crowd, you’re not allowed to jump over the barrier into the crowd.
“But if you go up to them and they grab you and you don’t grab them, it seems a lot of information to make a decision on.
“Some of the layouts of the grounds are different, so we’re going to have different rules for different grounds. There was no shouting at the ref, I just asked him because we constantly get told about it.”
Niang’s goal was a sickener for the visitors with his header past Tom Heaton proving to be the last action of the half.
The set back could easily have taken the wind out of Burnley’s sails, but Dyche was delighted with the response after the break.
Dyche said: “I was so pleased with the way we responded to that, we wanted to carry on attacking, we wanted to take the game on, we left Andre on to try and get him coming off the wide area, Barnesy I thought was terrific, Joey Barton as well, there were a number of good performances today.
“It worked to a degree and then we got Robbie on, and Westy as well, it was good to get them into the group.
“They had the one golden chance which Tom made a fine save, but it’s 11 v 10 and they had one golden chance, that’s a pretty good showing from your defenders and the shape of the team.
“If it’s 11 v 11 and we carry on performing like that I think we’d probably have won the game.”