CLARETS boss Eddie Howe had hoped to use Southampton as a benchmark of how good his young side have become.
But he left St Mary’s disappointed after what has become a rare away defeat of late.
Burnley had won five of their last six games on the road, in a run of eight wins in 12, and title hopefuls Southampton provided a test of the Clarets’ own promotion credentials.
However, they failed to do themselves justice in a 2-0 loss. Howe said: “It was one of those afternoons where you have to give Southampton credit, they’re a good side, as good as anything we’ve played this year, but we have to look at ourselves and ask could we have done better?
“And we could have in a number of areas, both phases, defensively and attacking, we weren’t our usual selves and we have to learn from it.
“We’ve been on a great run of form away from home, but this was always going to be one of the toughest examinations of the season, and the frustrating thing is we haven’t really given a good account of ourselves and don’t really know how good we are because I didn’t feel we played to our full capabilities.”
An early goal from Adam Lallana put Burnley up against it, before a Ben Mee own goal gave the hosts a cushion they never looked like relinquishing just after the half hour, and Howe added: “We didn’t perform to our usual standard of late on our good run, for whatever reason we didn’t put them under any pressure.
“The first half was particularly disappointing. Southampton were in control and we succumbed too easily, conceding two poor goals, and didn’t really look a threat going the other way.
“The second half was a lot better, for 20 minutes I thought we were on top and if we could have scored then it would have been an interesting one, but I’m disappointed we didn’t perform as we have done of late.”
Howe felt his side should have been awarded a penalty just before half-time as Jay Rodriguez was hauled back by centre back Jos Hooiveld after getting goalside, but Trevor Kettle gave a foul against the Clarets forward: “I thought it was a penalty at the time, but it wasn’t given and you can’t use that as an excuse for our overall performance, which wasn’t good enough.”
Burnley have enjoyed a run of clean sheets of late, but Howe felt both goals were preventable: “Adam Lallana’s not known for his heading ability, so that was a disappointment, and the second didn’t look a great goal to concede either.
“Lee Grant had a very good game and performed really well for us, but we have to reflect and analyse it and make sure we improve.”