TALKING TACTICS: Defensive transition is a worry

Scout Phil Smith looks back at Burnley’s 2-1 defeat at Peterborough United on Saturday.

Burnley have now suffered defeat in seven of their last 11 away fixtures. Only goal difference separates them from the relegation zone.

Peterborough adopted a very fluid diamond system. They looked to get the ball down and play through the midfield.

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Grant McCann sat at the base of the diamond.The Northern Irish international’s passing depth and accuracy were the foundation of Peterborough’s attacking transition.

Space in the centre was highly condensed, and thus playing through the midfield involved an increased risk of losing possession.

Darren Ferguson opted for Emile Sinclair over Paul Taylor. A deliberate tactic no doubt designed to exploit Burnley’s high defensive line. He bagged two and could have gone home with the match ball.

The advantage of pace against a high defensive line was evident as early as the third minute. A speculative punt from Lee Tomlin found Sinclair behind the Clarets defensive line. (Diagram A).

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When assessing finishing ability, I insist on an attacker striking the ball low and hard into the corners of the goal. That is precisely what the former Macclesfield Town man did.

No amount of preparation can legislate for an individual error. David Edgar will know his mistake proved costly. He will learn from that. Next time the ball will end up in Row Z.

Kieran Trippier was afforded a greater degree of freedom. A deliberate tactic by Ferguson once again? Maybe so. Double exposure in transition was evident on Burnley’s right side. Trippier was deep and Ross Wallace inside (Diagram B).

Paul Jones had been at fault for goals against Ipswich Town, Brighton and Middlesbrough previously. Burnley had eight shots on target. He produced an assured display on Saturday. Competent handling reduced the threat of the second ball.

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Burnley have enough firepower to fill an armoury. That cannot be questioned. This team will score goals - 13 shots on goal emphasises the threat posed going forward.

The worry for myself is defensive transition. Once again the final whistle blew without a clean sheet for the men from Turf Moor. A run stretching back 20 games.

When Burnley lose possession it is imperative that Wallace and Keith Treacy make a conscious effort to close in the midfield. Otherwise, Dean Marney and Chris McCann are left as the only barrier to the offensive transition of the opposition.

This scenario was seen too often on Saturday.

A holding midfielder is needed to counteract the defensive transition of the wingers.