Burnley's leading scorer Ashley Barnes is a marked man in the Premier League

Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk didn't give striker Ashley Barnes an inch at the Amex Stadium
Brighton skipper Lewis Dunk didn't give striker Ashley Barnes an inch at the Amex Stadium

After scoring four goals in the first three Premier League games, Burnley striker Ashley Barnes has been a marked man.

Eight of the 27-year-old's 13 shots in games against Southampton, Arsenal and Wolves were on target, but it was a completely different tale when the Clarets went up against Liverpool and Brighton.

The former Seagulls striker managed two shots on goal against the European champions at Turf Moor, both of those missing the target as he got very little change out of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.

And it was a very similar state of affairs at the Amex Stadium. After the hosts switched to a flat back four, centre back pairing Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were dominant and kept Barnes at arm's length.

After having little joy against his former club in Falmer, he said: "It was different with the wing backs bombing on a bit more and they changed the style to go to a back four and caused us a few problems. They did well.

"If we had managed to finish a few chances in the first 20 minutes (it might have been different) but after that we were off it. We were nowhere good enough.

"I had a slash at one which went into the stand. That was the only one I had. We were playing into their hands by lumping it forward and we need to move it quicker because they are big guys.

"We didn't find the pockets that we should have done - that is how our goal came when we found our pockets.

"You have to move them about and we didn't do that enough. We didn't retain the ball as well as they did that is for sure."

Barnes shouldn't struggle to impose his physicality when newly promoted Norwich City come to Turf Moor on Saturday.

Injury to former Borussia Dortmund defender Christoph Zimmermann, sustained in the 2-0 defeat against West Ham United at the London Stadium, means Ben Godfrey and Frenchman Ibrahim Amadou will likely continue their partnership at the heart of the defence.

The pair defended heroically against champions Manchester City in the 3-2 victory at Carrow Road, but they'll face a different test against the Clarets' forward line.

"I want to challenge myself every week, it is nothing that we have not come across, but against Brighton we played into their hands too much," said Barnes.

"We were nowhere near good enough, we needed to play the ball quicker and get quicker movement. We have got to be at it.

"We know the qualities they have, we will work hard and get ready for Saturday. Hopefully we can grab the bull by the horns and take the game to them.

"I believe in the quality we have in the dressing room. We are back at home now with the fans behind us and hopefully we can put on a good performance."