MANAGER Eddie Howe admitted his side “fell apart a little bit mentally” after they succumbed to two highly-controversial VAR calls at Burnley.

Joshua King looked to have put the hosts 1-0 up at Turf Moor, only for handball to be given against Philip Billing in the build-up following a check with the video assistant – despite the ball appearing to hit the midfielder’s shoulder.

After Matej Vydra’s opener for the hosts, a crazy 60 seconds then ensued.

Referee Mike Dean waved away handball appeals against Adam Smith in Cherries’ box, only for Harry Wilson to go up the other end and score on the counter-attack for 1-1.

But following another VAR check, referee Dean chalked off winger Wilson’s goal and pointed to the spot at the other end. Jay Rodriguez struck home from the spot.

Dwight McNeil’s sublime strike made it three for the Clarets. Howe was left to ponder how his side scored twice and were beaten 3-0.

He said: “I think it was so difficult for the players. Almost a three-goal swing against us and I think that during the game was too much.

“The latter stage of the game, once the second VAR decision (with Smith) happened I thought we fell apart a little bit mentally and then Burnley came into the game.

“Up until that point I think we’d been the better team. The difference of 1-1 and 2-0 is huge and I don’t think we recovered from that moment.”

Giving his views on the first incident involving Billing, Howe said: “I’d defy anyone to show me that first one and say that’s a handball. I can’t understand it.

“I think it’s one of those goals you need to slow down to really see what had happened. For me it comes off Phil’s shoulder.

“I don’t know when the top of the shoulder became the arm. I’ve got no idea. For me that’s a certain goal.”

He added: “I think if that one doesn’t get given I don’t think the second one gets given either because ‘is that a clear and obvious error from Mike Dean?’ I’m not sure it is.

“It’s so grey. Who knows where that hit? Only Adam Smith knows.

“It’s got to be a clear and obvious error and I don’t think it is. The double-whammy from our perspective is we go up the other end and score.

“The players had to recover from that moment, unfortunately we couldn’t. It was too much for us.

“It was incredibly difficult and tough on us.”

Defeat means Cherries remain two points clear of the bottom three, having played a game more than 18th-placed West Ham.

Howe added: “We have to look at this as extra fuel, extra motivation that things can be perceived to be going against you but we have to use it to create a siege mentality – to create a mentality that it is everyone against us in our pursuit to stay in the division.”