CLARETS boss Eddie Howe bemoaned a lack of cutting edge, as Burnley suffered a third defeat in four games.
Ipswich Town earned a 2-1 win at Turf Moor, courtesy of first half goals from David Norris and Connor Wickham, with Jay Rodriguez’s 13th of the season 20 minutes from time proving a mere consolation.
Howe had looked to inject more tempo into his side’s performance, and create more openings than of late, but Burnley’s malaise continued, as they slipped to ninth in the table.
They still lie three points from sixth, but with Reading leapfrogging Nottingham Forest, having played the same number of games as the Clarets, they no longer have their fate in their own hands.
Howe said: “I don’t think we created enough chances again. That was probably the most disappointing part.
“We were below our best in the first half, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“We had a go in the second half and rolled our sleeves up and fought, which is what we need to do right from the off.
“The Burnley supporters demand that you put a shift in, and we didn’t really do that in the first half, which is hugely disappointing.”
Burnley had started reasonably brightly, with Ross Walllace slicing wide a decent opening from Dean Marney’s reverse pass, but Town’s goals knocked the stuffing out of them: “The way we started in the first couple of minutes you thought ‘we’re on it today’.
“We looked bright and lively, and then the goal knocked us.
“The second goal was also a sucker punch. You’re 2-0 down and you’re thinking we need a response, and it was difficult from then on.
“We had a go in the second half, scored a goal and, you thought, if we could lay siege to their goal for the last 20 minutes ... but that didn’t materialise.
“We never really created a chance.”
The Clarets appear short on belief at present, and Howe conceded: “I think confidence is an issue when you concede early.
“The players will doubt themselves and we need to be strong.
“When you’re going through a bad period in form and people doubt you, that’s when you have to be mentally strong and say ‘we’re going to fight’, and, if we lose, we lose the right way.
“I felt we did that in the second half, but it’s no consolation to us.”
One positive was the performance of debutant Shane Duffy.
The 19-year-old landed on loan just before the emergency loan window closed.
Howe said: “I thought Shane was another positive to come out of the game.
“I thought he attacked the ball very well in the air.
“You can see his game is one where he’ll give absolutely everything to the cause, so I was pleased with him.”
But Wallace was withdrawn just after the half-hour as he ran the risk of a red card, having been angered after appearing to be caught by a stray elbow, before a running feud with Norris led to a soft booking for bringing down Jimmy Bullard.
Howe explained: “He was on the verge of getting sent off, so it was a combination of that and wanting to get Chris (Iwelumo) on the pitch, because we really lacked steel up front.
“When he came on I thought he gave us a different dimension and did very well.”