Marco Silva unhappy with the officials as Watford go down at Burnley
Burnley kept up their unlikely pursuit of the Premier League's top six with a 1-0 victory over Watford, whose manager Marco Silva bemoaned a game-changing red card at Turf Moor.
The battle of wits - and the clash of styles - between Silva and Sean Dyche, who are building impressive two of the division's more appealing CVs, shifted in the Englishman's favour as soon as Marvin Zeegelaar was sent off in the 39th minute.
The Dutch full-back was more out of control than out for blood but his reckless challenge on Steven Defour invited referee Lee Probert to make a decision which titled the scales decisively in the Clarets' favour.
Scott Arfield stepped forward on a rare start to provide the only goal of the game, giving the hosts the half-time lead and, ultimately, an eighth win of the season.
"For me it is clear, it is harsh, harsh, harsh. Not a red card for me," said the Portuguese.
"I think the result is not fair, the decision, the referee as well.
"Until the red card the game is balanced. After comes the decision (and) it has a big, big influence. I think it is not fair in that moment."
Silva was visibly annoyed by Probert's decision-making during the game, despite Burnley having further efforts from Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes ruled out for less-than-clear offsides.
When Everton were weighing up a replacement for Ronald Koeman it is understood they favoured Silva over Dyche. He is the more debonair of the two men, has continental experience and may yet have a higher ceiling in the game.
For now, though, his Hornets side sit six points behind Dyche's side and his trademark cool gave way to moments of barely contained rage at the officials.
Asked about his attempt to engage Probert as the sides headed for the tunnel at half-time, he said: "He didn't want to say anything, I don't know why. He didn't want to speak. For me it's clear they cannot control the normal match with two fair teams."
Having banked the win, Dyche was the happier of the two coaches but he too was also drawn to the officials' performance.
Barnes' 'goal' in particular was a borderline call, drawing in the murky distinction between active and inactive players and further obscured by a Watford deflection.
"It is not easy to win games in the Premier League and we had a couple that were chalked off. They were delicate decisions,"said Dyche.
Asked if Burnley had the right to feel aggrieved by the slender scoreline, he was non-committal.
" Not if they are right, (but) I can't work it out," he said.
"Our player goes to play Wood in. Barnes is half a foot offside. Their player plays it on their other player. Is he offside, is he not? Pick the bones out of that one.
"It was a confusing moment."