Eddie Howe’s case for the defence

CLARETS boss Eddie Howe insists he will come out fighting as he looks to arrest a dismal defensive record.

And he may have to take a plunge into the loan market to help his cause.

Burnley, after the 4-3 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday, have conceded 12 goals in four games, and 27 in 13 so far this season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The former Bournemouth and Portsmouth defender admits he has never known anything like it in nigh on four years as a manager, and takes full responsibility.

He said: “It’s very much a case of we’re at fault – or I’m at fault as the leader of the team – and I’ve got to put it right.

 “I’ve never known a period like this in my management run when we’ve conceded goals like this.

“We are going to have to tweak things.

“Whenever you go through a run like we are on defensively, it make you determined to come out fighting and go again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I said to the players after, I don’t think it’s a case they aren’t good enough – I stand by my players 100% – but we have to do better.”

Howe publicly backed his players, but, after a frank dressing room discussion after Tuesday’s 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday, admits there were more passionate words at Selhurst Park.

He said: “Words were said on all parts. They are a great bunch and they are hurting at the moment, just like we all are.

“We’ve just got to put it right. Sometimes you have to let players know when you expect of them and at the minute, individually and collectively, we are not where we want to be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“My job is to take the lows, take the highs and keep them on an even keel.

“That’s what I’ll do. I’ve always been the same.

“We thought at the start of the season it was just a run and fate was conspiring against us with some of the goals we conceded, but it’s gone beyond that now.”

Burnley have led the last three games 2-1 at half-time, but only gone on to take two points.

While concerned at that statistic, Howe doesn’t feel fitness is an issue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “It’s very, very strange. Individually players aren’t performing.

“I can name a couple in my own mind that played really well in the first half and didn’t produce that in the second half, for whatever reason, and that will of course impact on the team.

“It’s a concern because we’ve gone into half-time leading the last three games and we’ve only got two points to show for it.

“It’s easy to say fitness, but we are as fit if not fitter than more teams in the division. We regularly do the stats. That’s not an issue.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think the mentality to defending and decision making – to get done on the counter-attack three versus two with the system we played should never have happened and that’s down to individuals not doing their jobs.”

Blackpool are next up after the international break, as the Seasiders come to Turf Moor a week on Saturday for a televised Lancashire derby, and Howe may well look to bolster his squad.

He said: “Potentially. It’s an option. I won’t make any knee-jerk reactions but it’s certainly an option for me.”

However, asked if he had the money to do that, he added: “I don’t know.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the absence of fresh faces, sheer hard work on the training ground will have to suffice.

He said: “We’ve got two weeks now to work with the players.

“When you’re playing Saturday-Tuesday you’ve no time to do anything really other than recover the players and get them ready.

“Now we’ve got a bit of time where we’ve got to work them.

“We’ve got to have a better mentality, defending all the way through the team.”

• The Burnley Express has launched a FREE football app which is now available to download on iPhone and Android devices.