Clarets boss Sean Dyche isn’t reading too much into Burnley’s 4-2 defeat at Accrington Stanley.
Burnley were 3-0 down after nine minutes against their League 2 neighbours in their first domestic pre-season match, but pulled two goals back by half-time through Lukas Jutkiewicz and debutant Jelle Vossen.
Stanley sealed victory with a late fourth goal, but Dyche insists the game was purely about fitness, with more tactical and technical work to follow.
Dyche said: “It’s just the nature of it, I know you all have a job to do and will all be trying to make a story out if it, I get it, but it is the first real game, we’ll certainly not be reading too much into it.”
Asked what he took from the game, he said, noting Luke O’Neill and Tom Anderson’s early struggles at centre back: “The growth for one of our young centre halves and a right back who played centre half...they’ll find the first 15 minutes interesting when I show them that back, but other than that, realistically it’s about fitness.
“The players have worked tremendously hard this week, everyone knows the physicality of the group, and to get to that level, there needs to be work, so that is the key.
“You saw the players not only playing, but running at half-time and afterwards. It’s a loading day for us.
“We obviously want to get the players’ eyes in, of course, but there is a time when it is purely fitness, and that’s how we looked at this game.
“We’ll start tidying things up, the shape of the team, tactics, understanding of the team, and it starts piecing together.
“The next two games will still be slightly mixed, and beyond that it starts formulating down to where we thing we’re being more realistic about going into the season.”
Dyche added: “We had Luke playing centre half, young Tom, and it is a great reminder for them. The first 15 minutes we were a bit scatty with our thinking and organisation in the back four.
“Slowly but surely we got a grip of the game for a lot of it, but it’s really important, it’s not just for first team players - of course that’s key, but behind that, the second level of players need to understand where the gaps are, how close they are to being in the team or not.
“Pre-season gives them a feel of that, and these games are important, but it’s still about fitness, getting through unscathed, and more minutes under their belt.”
And he was pleased to see Vossen get off the mark: “Jelle nicked a goal and applied himself well. He’s worked tremendously hard - he said to me he hasn’t worked this hard at any other club, so he’ll get great value from that.
“But any striker wants to get on the scoresheet and Juke had a number of chances and nicked himself a goal as well.
“We created chances, that’s a given for us, but we have to take them.
“There were good signs and I think Lowts was very good again, he’s adapting nicely into what we expect from the players.”
Tom Heaton and Jason Shackell were absent through injury, as Dyche explained: “Tom got a minor knock on his finger, his finger bent back. That’s all it was, we hope that will settle down over the next few days.
“And Shacks has a niggle with his back, which he had last season a little bit.”
Michael Keane will come back into the group this week after his international exertions.