Burnley defender Lafferty refuses to panic

DEFENDER Danny Lafferty believes the Clarets have no need to panic just yet.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Lafferty
MAN OF THE MATCH: Danny Lafferty

The Northern Ireland international received the Man of the Match gong as Sean Dyche’s side extended their winless streak to six games with defeat to Huddersfield Town at Turf Moor.

That sequence has seen the Clarets slip from seventh, just four points from the play-off places, to 13th and eight points adrift of the Championship top six. Though that transformation may not be enough to have the Clarets peaking hesitantly over their shoulders just yet, Lafferty is eager to prevent the hole getting any deeper.

Asked if confidence may be an issue, the 23-year-old said: “I don’t see why we would be lacking in confidence because in recent weeks we’ve been playing well, albeit we haven’t been getting the results. It could possibly be one of the reasons but it’s down to ourselves as a team. We’ve got ourselves in to a bit of a hole now and there’s only us who can get us out of it. There’s enough talent in that dressing room to do that if we show that belief.

“We need to pick up some wins because it’s such a tight table and we could find ourselves in an even bigger hole if we don’t turn this around. We need to make the most of these games coming up and dig deep as a team. We want to get ourselves out of this hole that we’re in at the minute.”

The Terriers arrived at Turf Moor with just a solitary victory in 17 league outings, which consequently saw the club loitering precariously above the relegation zone. New boss Mark Robins set his stall for a point, but left with much more than he bargained for as Norwich City loanee James Vaughan punished a shambolic Clarets display in the 55th minute.

“It definitely wasn’t good enough,” declared Lafferty. “Going in to the game we’ve had decent enough performances but not had the right results. We thought Huddersfield were an opposition we could’ve beaten but we just weren’t at it. It was a game we needed to get something out of, but it definitely wasn’t good enough.

“They came similar to Middlesbrough - they had a good shape, compact, hard to break down, hard to play through. Once they got the goal we started to panic a little bit and went more route one and stopped playing. All round it wasn’t a good performance. If teams come here with a shape like that then we’ve got to find a way to break them down and turn losses in to wins.”

Despite the recent run of form Lafferty, who made his Clarets bow in the 0-0 stalemate with Cardiff City almost 12 months ago, is refusing to get dragged down in the pessimism and is instead seeking a solution to arrest the slump, starting tomorrow at the Valley when they face Charlton Athletic.

“Everyone in there is disappointed with themselves and disappointed as a team,” he said. “There’s plenty of games to put things right, they’re coming thick and fast, but we need to bounce back on Saturday against Charlton. It’s a tough venue to go to but we need to get back to winning ways.

“We train well every day and there’s been a lot of energy in the performances but we don’t seem to have got going like the first part of the year. We’re playing well but we seem to be lacking that end product and we’re not putting the ball in the back of the net. We need to start scoring. Our performances have merited something from the games.”

The Derry-born full-back added: “We don’t need luck, we’ve got certain team beliefs and we need to do them right and get back to basics. We’ve got nothing but belief and confidence in ourselves as a squad. I don’t think we’ve got to worry too much yet but we definitely need to address these slack, sloppy one goal losses.

“We won four out of five not long back and now we’ve lost four out of six so it’s quite strange. There’s a mental side to it and as a team we need to figure out how to get back to where we were a number of weeks ago. We’ve got plenty of opportunity to do that.”

Meanwhile Lafferty has relished his opportunities under Dyche, though he acknowledges that his path in to the starting XI may have been aided by injury to Ben Mee. “From a personal point of view I’m really enjoying the run out,” he said. “At the start of the season I wasn’t involved at all so it’s a new experience. The new manager came in and gave me that opportunity, albeit through an injury, but I’m definitely enjoying playing every game. I feel like I’m growing game by game, I feel fitter and stronger but I still feel I’ve got more to give.

“It would have been nice to top my first man of the match award off with a win, so it’s kind of a consolation, but it was nice to pick it up.

• The Burnley Express has launched a FREE football app which is now available to download on iPhone and Android devices.