Brian Laws: Burnley FC need to find deadly instinct

BRIAN Laws pointed to a lack of organisation at the back as Burnley twice led winning positions slip at Bramall Lane.

The Clarets led 2-0 and 3-2 only to have to settle for a share of the spoils after a goal in the fifth minute of injury time.

And the boss was at a loss to explain his side’s defending - bearing in mind they had only conceded once in the previous five games.

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He said: “I think every manager would think that 2-0 up away from home, in control, you’d expect to go on and win the game – kill the game off. To gift a goal like we did was very disappointing because it gave Sheffield United a lift when you couldn’t see a way back for them.

“That was a key moment.

“Having said that, I don’t think anyone could have foreseen the way this game panned out, certainly in the second half. It was very open.

“We got a let-off in a way because we got back into the lead at 3-2 and you think ‘let’s just see it out now’.”

And he admits Burnley have to cut out slips of that nature and improve their points haul away from home - after only four from 18 so far - to challenge for promotion.

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He said: “If we want to challenge and do well in this division you’ve got to come away from home and finish games off. We’re not looking to get the plaudits for being such an attractive side.

“We want to be professional and organised, and I thought we lacked that little bit of organisation, we missed a little bit of leadership, and we were sitting so deep at one point I thought our defence was behind the goalkeeper.

“That disappoints me because the way we’ve performed this season in particular you’ve always sensed that if we took a 1-0 lead we would go on an win the game because we’ve been very tight.

“We haven’t given any gifts away. Yet on Saturday we’ve given a gift of a goal and two deflections.

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“I was very disappointed in the dressing room and the players know that. I’m sure Gary Speed’s delighted to have recovered from that because he will almost feel like he’s won the game.”

Burnley had chances to put the game out of reach after Jay Rodriguez’s 90th-minute strike, only to squander them, and he added: “It would have been nice to get that fourth goal if we got the chance.

“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us.

“We said from the start of the game that Sheffield United don’t give up, they work hard and if you give them a sniff they’ll take it.

“We allowed that to happen in the second half.

“When the defence goes that deep it’s very difficult to stop it because the momentum of the game is being dictated.”

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Michael Duff was expected to start for the suspended Clarke Carlisle, but suffered more bad fortune when he was injured in training: “It’s disappointing because Duffo would probably have played but he did his calf on Thursday, which we’re disappointed with and so was he, but hopefully he’ll be back this week.

“You just need that little bit of organisation and communication because it’s key in this division.

“You’ve got to be communicating. If you’re too quiet you drop too deep.

“I’m never going to slate the players for a lack of effort. I just think it’s disappointing that we know what we want to achieve this year and this is a big lesson for us to take on board. I don’t to see that being repeated.

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“It’s hard to fathom but we’re asking for trouble when we’re sitting that deep.

“Composure is key, but even then we were inviting problems onto us when we were trying to play little five-yard passes when you could see Sheffield United had their tails up and were chasing everything down.

“They just gave them a bit more of a lift and the crowd got going because we were messing around with the ball at the back.”

There were also a couple of moments where you had to hold your breath - in the first half when Leon Britton could have walked for an awful lunge on Leon Cort, while Danny Fox was lucky not to be sent off for a late challenge after the break: “I think he could have been fortunate because how many times have we seen players go off this year.

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“The referee’s made that decision, thankfully he didn’t send him off.

“But there were occasions in the first half when we thought there were some fantastic tackling challenges yet there were bookings.

“It’s that inconsistency. But I think referees are under that much pressure trying to take away tackling but all of a sudden it’s iradicating what the sport’s all about.

“But I thought Foxy was very fortunate.

“He hurt himself in the challenge.

“There was nothing malicious in his thoughts, he went for the ball, but you could see he was probably going to be late.

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“I could see that coming in a way. I’m glad the referee saw no intent other than trying to win the ball.

“But he got a kick on the leg which numbed his thigh.

“I think I’ve got the best two fullbacks in the division and to lose one and for one to make a mistake … but I know they’re quality players and I’m pleased that we’ve got them in our camp.

“I think Tyrone did terrific to win the penalty.

“He had a terrific game but he made the mistake.”