Dave Hockaday said Leeds United will look at video footage of Sam Byram’s red card after the defender was sent off late in the 4-1 defeat against Watford this afternoon but claimed he did not see the incident.

Following Giuseppe Bellusci’s dismissal for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity when he fouled Fernando Forestieri and Troy Deeney converted the resultant penalty, Byram’s red card saw his side finish with nine men after he left Daniel Pudil on the floor.

As was evident at the time, the Leeds head coach confirmed referee James Linington sent Byram off after the incident was spotted by his assistant.

“My staff said there was no contact and they were very angry,” said Hockaday. “I was watching the ball so I’m not ducking the issue. I talked to the referee after the game, he didn’t see, the linesman said he saw something which I would have liked him to have been a little more specific than that. The referee told me ‘listen, if there’s no contact or there’s nothing there then appeal’ and it will be rescinded so we’ll have to have a look at it and see where we are.”

The defeat was Leeds’ third in four Championship outings this season and reports after the game suggested owner Massimo Cellino was very unhappy with the outcome at Vicarage Road.

Prior to discussing Byram’s dismissal, Hockaday was asked if he felt he would get the time he needs to improve United’s fortunes.

“That’s out of my hands,” he admitted. “All I can do is coach the players I’ve got, I love the players that I’ve got and I strongly believe with the players I’ve got I’m doing a decent job. And today I honestly believe, barring that moment of madness [Bellusci’s challenge on Forestieri], that we would have come away with something which would have been a great result.

“I look at the games we’ve played; we didn’t start well at Millwall but it took poor defending and a decision that was very poor. Brighton, again, a poor decision and then a crazy goal but in between that we’ve dominated the game and we’ve camped in their half. So there’s loads of signs of green shoots and today for 65 minutes I have to be happy. With the players I’ve got, the squad I’ve got, I have to be happy with the way that they played, I have to be. I’m not blind but I can’t legislate for what happened then.

Asked if he thought his team was good enough for the Championship, Hockaday responded: “We’re obviously short, I don’t think we’re far off. I think we’re a lot closer than maybe I thought than when I first took over the group.

“Even though it was 4-1 today, I don’t think anyone can go away and say they absolutely ripped the pants off you and they’re that much better than you because that’s not the case and it’s the same with any of the teams that we’ve played. But, you know, we’re enough off. If it’s an inch, if it’s a mile it’s an inch or a mile and we have to bridge that gap and the sooner we do that the better.”