Sean Dyche felt that Will Hughes was lucky to escape a red card as the Clarets fell to a 1-3 home defeat to Watford.
The Hornets midfielder was booked for a reckless 41st minute challenge on Stephen Ward in the space between the two technical areas.
Hughes went on to rub salt in the wounds by scoring the visitors’ third, decisive goal in the second half.
And Dyche, who was only feet away from the incident, was adamant his side should have been playing against 10-men for over half of the game.
The Clarets boss said: “It’s unfortunate that the goal came from a player who shouldn’t have been on the pitch.
“It should have been a sending off for a really, really poor challenge right in front of me. I was only four feet away and I know about those tackles from my day as a defender, but those days are gone.
“It was bizarre. As peculiar as the game is these days, we see the cheating and diving everywhere and yet when someone is completely out of control, tackling a player who is off the pitch, he only gets a yellow card and they get a throw in!
“How on earth that is anything other than a red card, but that’s the game, so we just have to get on with it.
“Credit to Watford because they saw the game out well after they got the third. we kept probing and playing, but we looked nervy and stopped being as creative.
“But balanced into that, they saw it out properly and effectively.”
The Claret feel behind early on as former striker Andre Gray finished off a sweet move with a precise finish.
James Tarkowski quickly levelled things up with his first goal for the club in the sixth minute, after which Burnley enjoyed the better of the half.
However, a sluggish start to the second half saw Troy Deeney put the Hornets back in front, before Hughes pounced on Matt Lowton’s misplaced pass two minutes later to rifle home a third.
“Unfortunately, today, we gave the game away and that’s not like us,” said Dyche. “Credit to Watford for seeing the game through, but we gave it to them to be honest.
“It was a quiet start from ourselves and they capitalised on that, and for the rest of the half we played well, had some very dominant periods and opened them up and got in some fantastic positions.
“I still want more from us when we get in to those positions, not just from the strikers but from everyone, to drive and want to score the goal. We got into some great positions and created enough to score more than the one goal.
“So, at half time, we’re looking at it and thinking we are in good shape.
“Then the first five minutes of the second half changed it all. The second goal their lad gets between the lines, and at 1-2 I still think we are right in the game, but it’s the third goal really coming so quickly that does it.”