Burnley FC need to end away hoodoo soon - Brian Laws

BRIAN Laws knows his nearly men have to end their away hoodoo sooner rather than later to boost their promotion ambitions.

Monday, 8th November 2010, 8:44 am

And he admits it is a deep-lying problem he needs to iron out.

Norwich scored twice in the last 20 minutes to snatch a draw at Carrow Road after Burnley dominated the first period.

That left the Clarets with one away league win in 30 games, coming at Hull City in April.

It’s a statistic starting to be a millstone around Burnley’s neck.

Traditionally, the Clarets are strong at home and not so away, and Laws intends to remedy the situation.

He said: “I’ve got to find a solution, but it’s embedded.

“It’s not been there for a short period, it’s been there for a long time.

“We’ve been notorious for it for the last two seasons, so we’ve got to change it somehow.

“We’ve lost the habit of winning, and once you get the habit, it almost becomes a formality.

“But you can work on anything in training, to improve, and we’ll have to get back to the drawing board and discuss it.

“This could have been a landslide in the first half, we did everything right, so it was about killing it off, finishing it.

“The third goal would have finished the game off. I suppose that’s the answer.”

Laws is adamant promotion remains attainable, and that is his target – not one imposed on him by the board.

He said: “You make your own pressures in life, you set your own targets, and I’ve set a very high target – I want promotion.

“That’s my target, nobody’s thrown that on my shoulders, I just think we’re good enough.

“The disappointing thing is we’re not quite there yet.

“If you win your home games and pick up points away from home, that’s a formula for success.

“However you’re not always going to win your home games.

“So you have to start winning away from home. And we’re more than good enough.”

He refused to hide behind referee Trevor Kettle’s failure to spot Andrew Crofts’ blatant handball for Norwich’s equaliser in stoppage time, controlling the ball into his path with his arm, however: “I can’t blame the referee all the time. There’s got to be a large portion of blame on ourselves because you’ve just seen the sublime to the ridiculous.

“We were a totally different team in the second half.

“I said it was going to be a major, major half for us and we have to win the game.

“It’s not about being pretty, but it’s about being professional. Making sure we make the right decisions and keep the ball simple, don’t over-complicate it, keep doing what you’re doing in the first half.

“Give credit to Norwich, they got right in our faces and didn’t allow us time. They had to, otherwise it could have been a cricket score.

“But instead of talking about what a fantastic performance and result it would have been, I’m just disappointed in us because the second half was a total contrast, and probably epitomised where we are this season, away from home.

“The performances have been great, but we haven’t got the points to go with them, and that probably epitomised why.

“We’re just not closing the game down and finishing it off.

“I’m not talking about kids in that dressing room, I’m talking about experienced players who have seen it and worn the T-shirt.

“That’s the disappointing thing. We’ve become our own worst enemy, and we made the job more difficult through our own errors instead of keeping it simple.

“One of the other things I said at half-time was that we have to jump up another gear because they would come at us and change it because they had to. We had to work even harder, and I’m talking about when we had the ball.

“We worked hard off it, but not enough when we had the ball.”

In the first half, Burnley’s formation outfoxed Norwich’s diamond midfield, with an embarrassment of options for players on the ball.

Laws said: “We had so many options in the first half, every player who had the ball at his feet picked his head up and had three or four options.

“In the second half when players picked their heads up, they didn’t see any.

“It will come. Our performances are showing it. This season in particular, I can’t think of any game really where we didn’t deserve anything out of it.

“We’ve got to keep going, and we’ve got to start winning surely.”

Burnley let slip a two-goal lead at Sheffield United, and have gone in front in four of their last six away games, without turning them into a win.

Laws said: “It’s not just this season. It happened last season and the season before last. It’s embedded in there somehow and we’ve got to get it out.

“We’ve got to find out how to finish games off.

“If we want to get out of this division we have to do it. When you’re in commanding positions like that you can’t afford to throw away two points like that.

“It’s a difficult to say whether it’s a mental block.

“I suppose it would be easy to say ‘I think it is’, but I don’t think it is. I think it was just a little bit unprofessional of us, and that’s the disappointing thing because we talked about it at half-time and said we have to work even harder.

“I didn’t think we worked hard enough when we had possession of the ball.”