EDDIE Howe hailed Burnley’s win at West Ham as his best in the job so far.
To round off an incredible week, the Clarets built on the victories over Hull and Ipswich by stunning Sam Allardyce’s side at Upton Park – Burnley’s first win at the Boleyn Ground since 1973.
And Howe, coming up to his first anniversary as Clarets boss next month, was hugely satisfied with a brave performance against the title hopefuls.
He said: “I think it’s the best result, without a doubt. I don’t think it was perhaps the best performance.
“In terms of spirit and attitude and character, yes, but we can play better.
“Defensively we were terrific, which we haven’t always been this season. Michael Duff and David Edgar were excellent.
“Duffo’s made a real difference in terms of leading the back four, and the two full-backs were excellent defensively.
“That pleases me more than anything because we’ve taken a lot of criticism – probably justified as well – for our defensive play this year, but it was different here.”
A week before, Burnley were 2-0 down at Hull and looking at a place in the bottom three.
Three wins later, the Clarets are 10th, and five points from a play-off place, and Howe smiled: “That’s what makes football so special and the game what it is and the league what it is because it’s very unpredictable.
“To come back at Hull and get a great win has given us a huge boost.
“We took it on to Tuesday, when I thought we were excellent and played some good football, and here we showed a different side again, where we dug in and played ugly, but got a great result.
“Things are looking up, but we know we’re not the finished article. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so we’ll keep our feet on the ground, but we’re definitely more pleased this week than we were this time last week.”
Kieran Trippier summed up the spirit, taking a Frederic Piquionne shot full in the face, and Howe said: “We’ve got a good spirit developing. The majority are the same age and they’re beginning to find that spirit you need.
“When you come to tough places like this, you’ve got no chance if you don’t have a good character and a good attitude.
“We threw our bodies in the way and defended crosses and set plays excellently, which is always important when you play a team managed by Sam Allardyce..”
Howe admitted before the game that Burnley couldn’t go and park the bus, but his side defended stoutly: “I thought we defended magnificently.
“We had to play a certain way and set up a certain way, try to make things difficult for West Ham and try to frustrate them, and try to keep the crowd quiet in the first half.
“We knew if we needed a goal, we had players on the bench to change the game, and I thought both our subs did really well.”
Ross Walllace and Sam Vokes came on, and combined for the winner. The on-loan Wolves striker headed in his second goal in two games from a corner, and Howe said: “We work hard on our set-pieces. I think you have to because they can decide games.
“West Ham obviously work extremely hard on what they do, so it’s one of the things that pleased me most in terms of our defending.
“But it was a good bit of movement in the box, a great delivery from Ross, who’s got a magical left foot when he gets it right.
“It was an outstanding header from that range, the power that went behind it.”
Skipper Chris McCann had equalised with his third in two games, and Howe added: “It’s good to see. We need goals from everywhere.
“Chris is a talented lad, and he’ll be pleased with his goal.
“It was a great ball in by Junior and a fantastic header. I thought both our goals were well worked and well finished.”