Quique Sanchez Flores was ‘proud’ of Watford’s effort in the last-gasp defeat to Tottenham and offered his support to Nathan Ake who saw red at Vicarage Road.
Spurs moved into third after Son Heung-min scored late on to snatch a 2-1 victory.
Watford defender Ake was sent off after Odion Ighalo had earlier cancelled out Erik Lamela’s opener but the Hornets hung on for the best part of half an hour before Son’s cute finish.
Watford remain seventh in the table but underlined their potential as contenders for the European spots with another battling performance.
The Hornets could even have felt themselves unfortunate as Ben Watson’s corner almost crossed the line one minute before Son appeared to have strayed offside in the build-up to his goal.
“The line separating wins and losses is very thin – one minute we can win the match, one minute later we lost,” Watford head coach Flores said.
“I am proud of the players because they fight a lot. They have a very big soul.
“They have amazing desire to play for the fans against a very tough team but the first feeling of course is sad because we are really close to taking one point against an amazing team.”
Flores also revealed Ake apologised to his team-mates for his red card, which came in the 62nd minute after he challenged a bouncing ball but instead caught Erik Lamela on the thigh.
“He is disappointed but I support him more than ever,” Flores said.
“He is a very fair player. This kind of player you need to love because he is an amazing player in all ways.
“He apologised but he didn’t need to, it’s football. He went for the ball and deserved to take the ball. It’s football, it can happen.”