Younes Kaboul felt referee Roger East felt the "pressure of the crowd" after not sending off Middlesbrough defender Antonio Barragan in Watford's 1-0 at the Riverside.

The Frenchman was left as frustrated as any Watford fan by East's decision to give the defender a final warning instead of showing him a second yellow 31 minutes into the game, in what was one of a number of puzzling decisions the Wiltshire official made.

Barragan was harshly booked early on for an innocuous foul on Isaac Success early on but, with a caution to his name, should have walked when wrestling the Nigerian to the floor barely 10 minutes later.

Fellow Middlesbrough player Christhian Stuani was then shown a yellow card for a similar foul when he brought down Roberto Pereyra; the two incidents were nearly identical.

In the end, Watford were grateful to Jose Holebas' stunning strike to take all three points back to Hertfordshire, but Kaboul felt they should have enjoyed a man advantage for the final hour of the game - which could easily have led to a more convincing result.

He said: "I think it was a second yellow [for Barragan] and if it was a player for our team with the pressure of the crowd, he would have given a second yellow. I think the only reason he didn't is because it was the home team.

"The referee is the only man who can take decisions, with the help of his officials. He needs to whistle what he sees and thinks and not by the pressure of the crowd or the other team."

The Hornets sealed a first clean sheet since April 16 at the Riverside, albeit as much down to Middlesbrough's often awful decision making than the Horns' admittedly improved defending.

Kaboul made a number of important blocks to frustrate a Boro side who have now scored only seven goals in eight Premier League games, but had netted in all but one of their fixtures before this afternoon. 

He said: "It [the clean-sheet] gives us some pride. As a defender, you think 'don't concede any goals' and you might win the game. That's the mentality of a defender, so in the next game that will be the target, if we can.

"It's not an easy place to come. It was not a particularly beautiful game from either side, but the most important thing was to get three points away from home.

"We were looking for a clean sheet because we didn't have one this season, but we can do better and we are not finished."