Sean Dyche felt Burnley matched Manchester United at the very least at Turf Moor.
But a terrific performance wasn’t rewarded as they ended up empty handed, after Anthony Martial’s second half winner.
The Clarets hit the bar through Johann Berg Gudmundsson and had a number of near misses, with Sam Vokes having his shirt pulled by Marouane Fellaini as he tried to head in a Charlie Taylor cross.
And Dyche, asked if he felt aggrieved, said: “I don’t think it’s about being aggrieved, but I thought the performance was very good. You’re playing against one of the top sides in the division, and I thought we, at least, matched them, and at times went beyond them.
“And then, really, the defining moment is a fantastic piece of quality, it has to be said, he sees the gap and whips it in the corner.
“That’s a great moment of quality, but other than that, we have a very good account of ourselves.
“I’ve said recently, you can have a tough run in the Premier League, that we’ve had, and lots of different margins can decide a game, decisions, we’ve had a few injuries, etc etc, but when you perform like that, that’s the key to it, continuing to perform like that.
“And we haven’t had too many dips, but that’s a very good performance and I’m very pleased with the players.”
Burnley had led 2-0 at Old Trafford on Boxing Day only for United to snatch an injury time equaliser, and another good display went unrewarded against the second place Reds: “The challenge of the Premier League, that’s why the top six are the top six, often they can just about hang in there and find a moment of quality, and they do it enough.
“If you look at the stats, you will clear.y see a gap between the top six, where almost none have had an awkward run, but every single club outside the top six have had a tough run at some stage, and that clearly defines the league.
“So when we perform like that against some of the super powers, I’m very pleased with how far we’ve come, and we continue to move forward.
“Results are hard to come by, but you can’t always measure everything by results, as a manager.
“As a fan you do, but you have to look beyond a result sometimes, and over this run I’ve been pretty pleased with a lot of performances, including that one.”
Burnley are eighth after seven league games without a win, but Dyche noted: “That shows how strong we were, and how strong we continue to be with performances, but the margins are tight. There’s half a shout for a penalty, not that we’re going to get one because we haven’t had one all season. That will be an anomaly somewhere.
“Vokesy gets his shirt pulled all over the place, Tarky has already been pushed over, things like that can affect games like this.
“Getting on the right side of those decisions count, and we didn’t. But performance wise I was really pleased.”
Dyche was animated with the fourth official, with referee Mike Dean angering the home crowd with a number of decisions - the most mystifying being to let Paul Pogba off with a shirt pull on Jack Cork, before he was later booked: “That was one of about 3,000 decisions...I think the margins are tight with decisions, they were some moments which are strange to understand. At the beginning of the season we get told the rules, Jack Cork gets past Pogba, you can clearly see he’s tried to pull his shirt, he doesn’t get him, he then tries to bring him down, he doesn’t get him, then he stands up and boots the ball away and gets nothing.
“Then later on he gets booked, and could be sent off. I don’t want to see players sent off, because I think some of the rules are crazy now, just get on with the game. But over 90 minutes, if you’re not getting the right side of some of those, and there were a lot of soft things today that went against us, and it all adds up. It’s frustrating.”
But Dyche wasn’t getting involved in the debate that the big clubs get all the decisions: “No, that is a debate that has been going on for years, nothing to with Man Utd, that’s about big clubs getting decisions, that debate has been there for donkeys years.
“It’s not my place to join it or not join it. It is for other people to decide. I am just saying today that we didn’t land the right side of close decisions.
“Even silly little things like the end of the first half They were on a counter-attack and he lets it play, free-kick at the end of the game, he blows the whistle. Who knows? We put that in the box, score a goal, who knows