Sean Dyche felt Burnley’s 3-1 defeat at home to Watford was self-inflicted.
And he was further frustrated that the Hornets’ killer third goal was scored by midfielder Will Hughes, who he believed should have been sent off for a first half scissors challenge on Stephen Ward.
Burnley fell behind to an early goal from former Claret Andre Gray, but levelled through James Tarkowski’s first for the club.
However, Watford netted twice at the start of the second half through Troy Deeney and Hughes as Burnley lost their opening home game in the Premier League for the fourth-successive season.
Asked whether they shot themselves in the foot, Dyche said: “Yeah, absolutely, we gave the game to the opposition. They still had to capitalise on it, but we more or less gave it to them the first five minutes of the second half, after a very good first half, other than the first couple of minutes.
“After that we were really dominant for periods of the game and played some good stuff - effective football, which I’m really into.
“It doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s being effective.
“We scored a goal, but didn’t capitalise, and went in very positively at half-time with the aspects of our play.
“We got into some great positions, but that killer moment, which we’re still trying to find as a group...Jeff got in several times, and put things across the box, good deliveries from Matt Lowton particularly, from deep and higher up the pitch, Aaron Lennon, Johann...”
But Watford struck twice after the break to all but seal their victory, though the third goal was a source of frustration: “I warned them at half-time, so I’m frustrated with that. I said to them they would try and come out of the blocks again, and we had to respond.
“You’ve got to go and get the game, rather than let it come to you, and we didn’t start with that intention.
“We concede a poor goal when we’re out of shape, which is unusual for us. They get a bit lucky, it hits Ben, a good block, and it lands to the lad, and he’s played a very good pass.
“Then the third is obviously a poor pass and they capitalise on it.
“The unfortunate thing is the lad who scores shouldn’t be on the pitch at that time, for a really poor challenge.”
Dyche added: “Our lads don’t go rolling around, and unfortunately in this case maybe you need to and have a hoo-haa, and they see it differently. It’s a really poor challenge.
“I don’t even know why he’s going for it, Wardy is off the pitch at the time, he’s not in control...I’m only going off the letter of the law, those sort of challenges used to happen every week when I was playing.
“But they don’t any more.
“I try and leave referees alone, they have a job to do, and it’s a tough one, but some are more obvious than others.
“I’m on top of it, four feet away, I know the difference between a reasonable tackle and a bad tackle, and that was a bad tackle.
“I don’t mind firm tackles, let’s say, there should be more of it. It’s taken away to a disastrous level because of all the cheating, so I’m one who’ll go ‘okay, that’s how it goes’.
“But that was a really poor challenge. He’s that out of control, Wardy is off the pitch, he’s gone from the playing surface, off the pitch, and hit him.
“Moments like that, you can’t have, that could have really hurt someone.
“I thought he should go, he didn’t, the referee didn’t seem interested in that, and then he scores - a good strike, by the way.
“We kept probing but didn’t really open them up, then they put an extra midfielder on, played in their shape and tried to absorb the game. They did that very well, to see the game off.
“We didn’t really get among them as we should have done second half.”
The third goal took the wind out of Burnley, and Dyche noted: “It’s not a goal that’s been created, credit to the finish, but we’ve given them that and it makes you feel different. If someone scores a goal out of good play, you hold your hands up - I don’t, because I think every goal can be stopped - but because it was a mistake, it kind of unnerved everyone a bit.
“Then you’ve got to stay calm and realise you’re still in a game, and we’ve come back in so many games.
“But we couldn’t quite bring that momentum to the game, it was slow, methodical, and we couldn’t quite bring the edge we had in the first half.
“That’s a frustration overall.”
Burnley created enough openings in the first half, but struggled to create in the second - as they still miss Robbie Brady, Steven Defour and Matej Vydra: “We are missing some high quality players, and have people like Vyds to get fit, and affect it, but the okay at Southampton was very good, we definitely deserved a point, and other than five minutes today, I’m not overly critical of the players.
“A few I think can still bring that edge that comes to you at the end of a pre-season, but I’m not overly critical, apart from a really poor five, eight minutes. Other than that, there were some really good things.
“Jeff Hendrick gave a very good performance again, I only took him off to try and change the feel of it.”
People will point to the Europa League and the added game time, but Dyche made six changes from Thursday night: “It’s the story that started five months ago. It’s not new, but you’ll all run it, it’s your jobs.
“That’s the challenge, it’s here, it’s real, so that’s what we get on with.
“The performances have been really good. First half we were very good, certainly the better side.
“Once they get 3-1 up, it’s difficult, at the end of the market, when teams have a two-goal swing.
“They change their shape and play counter attack, and did it very well, and deserved to see the game out.
“After that we never really broke the lines or got in the positions to threaten their keeper too much.
“But first half we were very good