Sean Dyche felt his players’ slow start cost them dearly at Goodison Park.
Burnley fell to a 2-0 defeat against Everton, who scored twice in quick succession, in the opening quarter of the game through a Richarlison strike which was deflected in off Ben Mee, and a Seamus Coleman header.
The Clarets improved in the second half, and were denied what looked a blatant penalty for a shove from former Burnley centre back Michael Keane on substitute Matej Vydra.
Dyche said: “I think the slow start (cost us) definitely, it was kind of a strange game to get up for from a players’ point of view, so much work has been done in the second half of the season, they’re only human.
“I was wondering if we would find that tempo early on, which we didn’t really, and, without doing great, we kind of quietened it down, because they had a fast start, which we know they wanted to, we warned the players of that - and then they get a deflected goal, and that calms them down.
“We were searching, nowhere near what we’ve been doing lately, and they get the second and it looks like a tough night.
“But in the second half I was really pleased, the way we went about it to try and get back in the game, without finding the golden moment, but we went about it the right manner, as we have been for the second half of the season.”
Looking at the penalty shout, Dyche said ruefully: “I think it’s two in 92, there’s been that many we haven’t been given...the only thing I keep waffling on about is it’s a natural fall, and you don’t get them anymore.
“He gets a push in the back and naturally falls.
“People fall, throw their arms around and roll over and get them all the time.
“I think that’s a sad side of the game now.
“But no one else seems to be that bothered about it. C’est la vie.
“I will say, I’m not sure it’s actually in the box, it’s very tight, it might be on the line, I’ve had a quick look, but I was more looking at the incident whether than if it’s actually in the box.”
Moments later, a less obvious shove from Vydra on Theo Walcott on halfway resulted in a free kick in front of Dyche, who smiled: “I don’t know why you’re reminding me of it, I was three yards away! The complexities of the modern game are probably deserving of a better look than they’re getting in my opinion.
“I just saw a player banned for feigning something, but feigning a dive is just the same, in fact it could mean hundreds of millions of pounds difference.
“But, anyway, me being a dinosaur and all that...”
Next season, VAR will iron out penalty claims, but Dyche added: “How is it going to be used? Is it going to define dives? I doubt it. Is it going to define moments? Yes, which is still important of course, but the game is in an interesting position at the minute.”
Dyche was pleased with his side in the second half, as they got to grips with the game, and, after achieving safety before Sunday’s defeat to leaders Manchester City, he admitted it was difficult to get up to their usual levels: “The mentality returned in the second half performance, they’re human beings, they climbed a mountain in the second half of the season.
“People don’t understand the work that’s been done, for the players to put the performances on and score the goals we have - I think we’re fifth highest scorers in the second half of the season - to get the points we’ve got, is a fantastic achievement, so I’m not going to over-question the players.
“On the other hand, you want them to win games, and the winning mentality has seen us right this season.
“It’s still frustrating, but only low level, because bings could have been so different in the second half of the season.
“I don’t mean we weren’t up for it, but that edge when there’s something riding on it, good or bad. You have to deliver, and when it’s not there it’s a strange kind of feeling.
“And quite unusual for us, every season is a tough season.
“There was probably a bit of that last season, we had a funny spell when we couldn’t find a win, and we refound it.
“But we want to finish right against a good side in Arsenal, for the way we go about our business, and for the fans, who’ve been amazing.
“It’s easy to support when things are going well. But we’ve had really good support even when things haven’t been going as well, the fans stuck with it, home and away, and it would be nice to take on a big side in Arsenal and give something to the fans.”