Eddie Howe is sure of Burnley FC upturn in fortunes
Three defeats in four games – the latest of which was a 2-1 setback at home to Ipswich Town on Saturday – have put a big dent in Burnley’s play-off hopes.
But while Howe concedes his side were off the pace again against the Tractor Boys, he believes his side are falling the wrong side of a fine line at present, and is confident they can pick up the baton going into the last eight games of the season.
Incredibly, despite picking up only one point from the last 12 available, the Clarets still sit only three points outside the play-off places, although they have played the same number of games as Reading, who leapfrogged Nottingham Forest into sixth on Saturday.
Burnley are now back on the road for an East Midlands double, as they travel to Sven Goran Eriksson’s Leicester City on Saturday, before a trip to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
And Howe said: “It’s disappointing because we’re waiting for everything to click into gear.
“I don’t think we’re far away from bossing games and doing what we need to do, but small margins cost you games and I felt the goals we conceded against Ipswich gave us a mountain to climb.
“It’s frustrating because I don’t think we’re far away, but we’re conceding two goals a game at the moment, and at any level if you do that it’s a big ask.”
Burnley face five sides from the top half of the table in those last eight games – including three against top five clubs – but the Clarets have tended to pick up better results against higher-ranked opponents this term.
Howe added: “We’ve just got to look to our next game.
“We’ve got tough fixtures coming up.
“You look at them on paper and you think they’re difficult games, but it’s probably just what we need.
“We’re still in and around it despite a bad run of form, but we are running out of games and we need to turn the corner quickly.”
Howe made four changes to his side to face Ipswich – one enforced with Brian Easton coming in for Danny Fox, who started a two-match suspension – while he handed Shane Duffy a debut, and recalled Nathan Delfouneso and the fit-again Dean Marney.
However, he didn’t get the response he was looking for, and said: “I learned several things on Saturday.
“I pick the team, so ultimately I’m responsible and willing to take criticism because it’s part of the job.
“We are looking long term and putting things in place.
“This is going to be a long-term job.
“There’s always pressure in management. I’m well aware of that.
“My aims are to win every game.
“When you don’t do that you question everything, and that’s a continual process whether you win, lose or draw.”
Howe has turned Burnley’s away form around – the Clarets stand fifth in the current away form table with three wins from six – and four from eight overall since his arrival in January.
In fact, if you formulate a table based on purely home or away results throughout the season, the Clarets would now be higher in the away table, after just two wins from six of late at Turf Moor.
Howe noted: “I think teams have done their homework against us, but in saying that we’ve got to be better and do better.
“There are positives to take from Saturday, but ultimately we’ve lost the game.”