Eddie Howe leapt to the defence of Dan Gosling after Watford captain Troy Deeney accused the Bournemouth midfielder of trying to “do Tom Cleverley”.
Bournemouth twice came from behind to salvage a 3-3 Premier League draw with the Hornets in a madcap encounter at the Vitality Stadium.
Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure was lucky to avoid a red card for a nasty tackle on Ryan Fraser, while Gosling was booked for a sliding challenge on Cleverley.
Deeney was quick to criticise Gosling’s tackle, claiming “you can’t tell me their boy did not try to do Tom Cleverley” – but Howe insisted the former Everton and Newcastle man simply mistimed his challenge.
“I don’t think it was dangerous, Dan’s tackle; for me it’s not a red card,” said Howe.
“I know Dan inside and out, he’s not that type of player.
“Yes he’s mistimed the tackle. But in terms of those words (from Deeney), that’s not in Dan’s make-up.”
Nathan Ake, Callum Wilson and Fraser all found the net for Bournemouth, with Deeney bagging a brace and setting up Ken Sema for Watford’s third.
The Hornets had led 2-0 thanks to Deeney’s double, before four goals in six minutes lit up the tie and handed both sides a point.
Cherries manager Howe felt Doucoure should have been dismissed for his challenge on Fraser, insisting the Scotland winger was lucky not to have been seriously hurt.
“Yeah I do I think it was a straight red card,” said Howe, of Doucoure’s challenge on Fraser.
“Ryan was very fortunate not to pick up a serious injury, it’s a very dangerous tackle and one you don’t want to see at any level of football.”
Asked to appraise his side’s draw, Howe added: “I don’t know what to think if I’m honest.
“I’m disappointed we haven’t won it, because we created so many chances in the second-half.
“But from 2-0 down you have to be very pleased with the spirit and attitude to come back from that, so mixed emotions.
“Ryan (Fraser) was a constant menace today, he looked lively, his set plays were spot-on and he took his goal very well.”
Watford captain Deeney was left seething with Gosling, and did not hold back, telling the BBC: “Abdoulaye Doucoure probably did get lucky (not to be sent off), but you can’t tell me that their boy did not try to do Tom Cleverley.
“They know it. We know. But the referee bottled it on a few occasions today.”
Javi Gracia felt Gosling should have been sent off too, with the Watford manager left frustrated with a string of decisions from the officials.
Asked if Doucoure was lucky to avoid a red card, Gracia replied: “Yes, but he was the same as Dan Gosling.
“But today the yellow cards were only for us. There were many similar fouls, but the cards were only for us.
“I have never seen a match like that. Six goals in the first-half and 3-3, I think the supporters will be happy.”