Burnley boss Sean Dyche lauded the performance of his players despite the Clarets losing out to Southampton in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Clarets netted three times at St Mary’s Stadium but still failed to make the draw for the next round as the Saints’ England internationals struck in spectacular fashion.
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne, capped for Gareth Southgate’s Under 21s, backed his £2.5m price tag when rifling a half-volley in to the top corner midway through the first half, before Rickie Lambert enhanced his World Cup prospects with a stunning finish to double the advantage.
The visitors responded after the break and halved the deficit through Sam Vokes before Danny Ings scored his 20th of the campaign when firing past Kelvin Davis from an acute angle following an expeditious run.
Davis, a former team-mate of Dyche, made a stunning save to deny Vokes from giving the Clarets the lead before Jay Rodriguez scored in the 66th minute to restore the home side’s lead against his former club. Ings than smashed the upright before Adam Lallana - handed his Three Lions bow alongside Rodriguez against Chile at Wembley - won the tie for Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
“If there is such a thing of losing a game the right way, then that is it,” said Dyche. “Three of their scorers were England players and their right-back was worth £2.5m. That in itself is a measure between the two clubs. It was three moments of power and quality from their lads outside the box, but there was nothing inside the box.
“But performance wise, particularly second half, I thought we were excellent. We played with no fear, we were attack-minded, and we played some very good football.
Barring an amazing save from Kelvin Davis and then Ingsy hitting the post, it could’ve all been different.”
Dyche added: “I thought the first 10 or 15 minutes we started very bright but then there goal de-fuelled us a bit. They gained a bit more belief from it and it settled them. I told the lads at half-time there wasn’t a lot in it.
We kept the ball better, played more effective football and played some fantastic stuff. We were relentless. We were terrific in the second half and we played with freedom.
“We’ve lost, but the positives are that we were playing a Premier League club in Southampton, we’ve more than kicked their kennell, and I’m sure they were feeling like they could’ve been turned over there. There were some great signs there and we kept going at them. I would’ve liked to have won, make no mistake.”