Eddie Howe expecting tough test at Middlesbrough
EDDIE Howe is determined it won’t be a case of ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’ at Middlesbrough tonight.
Burnley is bouncing after the opening day 2-0 win at home to Bolton, and all that entails.
But the Clarets have little time to savour that success as they travel to the Riverside for their first away trip of the campaign.
Boro started the season with a 1-0 defeat at Barnsley, and Howe expects Tony Mowbray’s men will provide a different test to the Trotters: “You always feel good on the back of a win, especially in the manner of it, but you have to quickly move on in this league.
“We try to recognise what we did well and try to take that into another difficult match.
“Saturday reinforces your good work and what you’re trying to do, and gives everybody confidence your methods can get wins.
“But it’s only one game, we don’t want that to be in isolation and then fall flat.
“The challenge is to seek that consistency, become a team that is feared in the division and consistently get results - an area we didn’t excel in last year.
“We’re capable of it - you saw the talent in the squad on Saturday, now it’s a case of rising to the mental challenge.”
Bar a spell between November and January - which included a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough, one of the performances of the season - Burnley struggled for that consistency, and Howe is searching for that this term: “For various reasons we struggled for consistency last season, we were a younger squad, and we’ve added experience, but it’s up to everyone to seek that level of performance, and once you’ve set your standards, try to hit that every week.
“It’s a really unforgiving league from that perspective, that’s why it’s so difficult and so many sides struggle for that consistency.”
Boro are renowned for their passing game, much like Burnley, so Howe expects a different threat after Saturday, when the Clarets had to deal with a lot of long diagonal balls: “I expect a different test, it’s an away game for a start, and Middlesbrough are on the back of something of a shock scoreline, because I expect them to be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.
“They have a really strong squad and are really well managed, play good football, so it wiill be really difficult.
“We have to prepare differently, and hopefully will get the same result.
“I’m sure their fans will get behind them, but we go into it on a high, with confidence.”
Boro have added nine players over the summer, including former England centre back Jonathan Woodgate, and Howe said: “He’s a top player who’s had a fantastic career.
“Bar injuries he probably would have played for England on a regular basis.
“Now he’s gone back to his hometown club it’s going to be interesting to see how he does this year.”
David Edgar was at Newcastle at the same time, and is in agreement: “I was in the Academy and reserves, but he was one of the best centre halves I saw play there.
“I always said, without his injuries, he would have been a regular England centre half, and I looked up to him, but he’s on the other team and we just want to win.”
Edgar started his long run in the side at Derby last year when Burnley registered their first win of the season at the fourth attempt, and he was delighted to get up and running at the first time of asking on Saturday: “I didn’t realise we waited that long last year, but we just want to see how long we can go unbeaten for now.
“We need to maintain our away form and pick up points at home.
“Boro will be up there, but we want to be as well.”