Clarets defender Duff bemoans ‘plucky losers’ tag

Burnley's Michael Duff wins a header from West Ham United's Enner Valencia''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football - Barclays Premiership - West Ham United v Burnley - Saturday 2nd May 2015 - Boleyn Ground - London''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
Burnley's Michael Duff wins a header from West Ham United's Enner Valencia''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football - Barclays Premiership - West Ham United v Burnley - Saturday 2nd May 2015 - Boleyn Ground - London''� CameraSport - 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com

With time running out, defender Michael Duff is determined to dispel the ‘plucky losers’ tag that has been attached to Burnley this term.

Sean Dyche’s side have been beaten by the odd goal on nine occasions in the Premier League this season, with four of those arriving in succession over recent weeks.

Mark Noble’s penalty for West Ham at the Boleyn Ground - conceded by Duff in the 23rd minute - condemned the Clarets to their latest narrow defeat.

“We don’t want to be seen as ‘the plucky losers’,” said the 37-year-old. “We want to achieve something. We’ve believed that we can achieve something all season and there’s still a small chance. We truly believe that we can still get out of this.”

The veteran centre-back is available for selection once again after the red card - brandished by referee Jonathan Moss - was rescinded by the FA’s disciplinary panel.

“I was frustrated in myself for making a bad decision and giving the penalty away but I was surprised when the red card came out,” said Duff. “Thankfully it’s been rescinded and I’m available to play this weekend which is a positive.

“Last week was obviously a blow with having to play that length of time with 10 men but it’s all ifs, buts or maybes. We’ll never know what would have happened so we just have to move on.”

He added: “It was disappointing. I was surprised when I was shown the red card because it took quite a long time. I was talking to George Boyd getting ready for the penalty when the referee sent me off.

“I don’t think I was the only one who was surprised when he sent me off.

“Obviously I was disappointed to give the penalty away because there’s no doubt it was a penalty. I’d be mad to come out and say I didn’t think it was a penalty. I’m just relieved that I’m available to play.”

Now the former Northern Ireland international is keen to step back in to the fray against Hull City and contribute to a late resurgence.

Duff still bares the physical scars of his last outing at the KC Stadium in the top tier, colliding with Leon Cort as the Clarets registered a 4-1 win, their only triumph on the road of that 2009/10 campaign.

He has featured in three consecutive wins in the Tigers’ cage since then, and he knows the Clarets can’t afford anything less on this occasion.

“We have to win the game,” he said. “I’ve said there are three games but there isn’t technically because if we don’t win on Saturday, we’re down.

“It’s a horrible feeling. It doesn’t matter what league you’re in. Saturday is a must-win.

“We’ll go there and enjoy the challenge. It sounds perverse really but it’s the way that this squad works.”

Duff added: “There’s no doom and gloom about the place at all. The players have worked so hard to get here that they’re not going to down tools and give up yet. While there’s a chance we’ll be kicking and screaming.”