Eddie Howe makes no excuses after defeat

NO EXCUSES: Eddie Howe
NO EXCUSES: Eddie Howe

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe made no excuses for his side’s first home defeat of the season.

Burnley went down 2-0 at Turf Moor against unbeaten Middlesbrough, and Howe felt too many of his players were below par on the day.

On the back of the 2-1 win at Derby, Howe went in with the same starting line-up, despite the temptation to start new signing Junior Stanislas, and he said: “I thought it was a poor performance from us.

“I’ve said in previous weeks we’ve been unlucky and deserved more from the game, but today I don’t think we did.

“I thought we were beaten by the better team.

“We had a poor start to the game and conceded quite early.

“Middlesbrough frustrated and made it difficult for us, got bodies behind the ball, and we found it difficult to break them down.”

And he was at a loss to explain a disappointing performance: “I think you can put it down to the fact that a number of players, for whatever reason, just didn’t perform today.

“It’s concerning for us that it was quite a number.

“It’s very rare that you get so many off colour, especially your big players as well who we need to perform if we are to have a chance of getting results.

“That’s something we’ll have a look at as to why and try to work out.”

Keith Treacy and David Edgar had lengthy trips during the week on international duty, and both were assessed before naming the side, as Howe said: “I think on the back of the win against Derby I’d like to have kept the same team, because I was hoping for a similar performance.

“It wasn’t to be in the end. It’s always difficult when you lose players to international duty, but it’s the same for all sides – I’m sure Middlesbrough had a few away.

“Unfortunately we didn’t match the Derby performance.

“In hindsight now, I know the result and I would have changed it, but I wanted to give the players a chance to try to get the same result.”

Burnley were behind after 10 minutes to a soft goal from Nicky Bailey, and Howe, like many others, felt Brian Easton was fouled in the build-up: “We’re disappointed with the first goal from a number of angles, and again you give yourself a mountain to climb when you go one down.

“We felt we should have had a free-kick, but it wasn’t given. That’s life.”

Howe switched to 3-5-2 to counter Boro’s 5-3-2 at half-time, but that plan was dead in the water within five minutes after conceding a second: “We felt we weren’t in control at all in the first half, and we needed to change something.

“We decided to match them up and go man for man and match their system.

“It gave us more of a foothold into the game, but we never really at any stage looked like breaking Middlesbrough down, which is the most disappointing thing.

“They were very organised and dropped deep and put men behind the ball and defended very well. They were very compact.

“Away from home that’s proved a very successful system for them, and a successful way of playing with the results they’ve had recently.”