WHAT a difference an away day makes.
The 24 points accumulated by the Clarets on their travels is only bettered by league leaders West Ham in the Championship.
And the 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground marked a 50% record on the road for boss Eddie Howe, with 13 victories from 26. Remarkably, it had taken 65 attempts for the Clarets to register that amount of wins away from Turf Moor prior to Howe’s appointment.
“I said to the players after, it’s not by luck,” Howe said. “You have to be a good side to win eight times away from home.
“It’s all about character when you play away from home and doing the right things. We’ve conceded a lot of late goals this year and we’ve learnt from that, it’s been a good lesson for us at times.”
That form, which has propelled the Clarets to ninth in the table just two points from the top six, has been aided by the incredible transition in goals conceded. Howe’s side had shipped 34 goals in all competitions prior to victory at Hull, which had seen them teeter precariously above the drop zone, but seven clean sheets in 10 league games has changed their fortunes significantly.
“We say it all the time but it does start from the strikers and Jay Rod does a really good job for us just dropping in and making sure we’re secure,” said Howe.
“Dean Marney and Chris McCann have been excellent in just protecting the back four.
“We’re looking solid at the moment. But we can’t rest on our laurels and we can’t get too over confident. We need to make sure we do the right things because it is the type of league where, if you drop your levels, you will get caught out.”
Howe added: “I think they’ve got the mentality now where they don’t want to concede goals and they want to keep clean sheets and there’s a real togetherness now throughout the back four.
“They’re a tight unit and they work really hard for each other. Granty plays his part in that of course.
“It’s something we knew we needed to work on. Our record early season was really poor; it’s something we’ve worked hard on and it’s full credit to the players for taking that on. They’re the ones who have to go out there and do it, and they’ve been excellent. I just hope we can keep it going.”