Ben Mee expecting a tough game at Vicarage Road
CLARETS defender Ben Mee expects a pitch battle at Watford tomorrow.
The Vicarage Road surface is scheduled to be relaid in the summer, at a cost of £1m.
A Desso pitch, like the one at Turf Moor, it is due to be replaced every 10 years, but the current one is in it’s 13th season.
In the meantime, it is, as Southampton boss Nigel Adkins said last week, “lively” - shared by the Hornets and Aviva Premiership rugby union side Saracens.
Mee hopes Burnley’s passing football won’t be affected, but, with wins at a premium in the hunt for a play-off place, he accepts pretty passing may have to go out of the window at times: “We need a win.
“It’s not an easy place to go to because they play rugby on that pitch as well so it’s maybe going to be a tough surface to play on, but we do need a win.
“It might be a scrappy game with the pitch not being great but we’ll look to play football.
“You never know what kind of game it’s going to be, but we’ll look forward to it and hopefully play well.
“You’re not going to be playing around the back four if the pitch is going to be bobbly and the ball bouncing everywhere.
“It’s hard to deal with.
“You’ve got to take the pitch into consideration and maybe it’s not the best idea to play football on a surface that’s doing allsorts.
“But we’ll see how it is when we get down there.
“Obviously playing on a nice pitch is ideal, but sometimes that’s not the way and you’ve got to try to adapt to it I guess.”
Boss Eddie Howe hasn’t deviated from the way he wants his side to play in training, however, as Mee noted: “He always encourages us to pass the ball; we do a lot of drills in training just keeping the ball.
“We have to go out there and if the pitch is okay we’ll play our own game, but if necessary we might have to change that and go a bit more direct.”
However Burnley have to adapt to win the game, Mee expects a response to the hugely disappointing 3-1 reverse at home to Millwall on Saturday.
It was a performance somewhat out of character, and Mee admitted: “It wasn’t like us, we didn’t perform at all for whatever reason, so hopefully we’ll put on a good show at Watford. We were all disappointed and frustrated with ourselves that we played like that, but we’re looking forward now.
“I think everyone here this week has shown how much we want it, and the gaffer’s gearing us up right for the weekend.”
March sees Burnley hit the road for trips to Watford, Cardiff, Ipswich and Portsmouth, but the travelling holds no fears for the former Manchester City man: “It’s a really busy time. We’ve got 13 games in the next couple of months but it will be nice to play games every week.
“We’ve got a lot of travelling to do with four away games in March, but we’ve been performing away from home.
“We’ve been happy with our away form.
“The last two have been tough games and we didn’t perform quite as well at Southampton as we’d like, but at Reading I thought we played quite well and maybe should have got something out of the game.
“Our away form isn’t too bad so hopefully we’ll kick on again.”
Matching Michael Duff’s mantra about taking things one game at a time, Mee also isn’t concerning himself with worrying about how many points it will take to reach the play-offs and things like that: “Like Duffo said the other day we don’t want to concentrate on that at the minute, we want to concentrate on the games coming up and maybe put that on the backburner a bit at the minute. We need to focus on what’s coming up ahead of us.
“If that results in us getting in the play-off places, that will be great, but we want to concentrate on the games ahead at the minute.
“You maybe put a bit of pressure on yourself that you’ve got to get in there.
“We’re going to take it a game at a time.
“I think everyone’s seen this season anything can happen.
“Teams are winning and going on a run and then losing a few and it’s all really congested.
“I don’t think you can put a mark on how many you’d need. I guess we’re looking at probably eight or nine wins, somewhere along those lines.”