Stuart Gray praises professional performance

THERE were positives and negatives to take from the Clarets’ FA Cup victory over Port Vale, according to caretaker boss Stuart Gray.

Gray praised his side’s professional performance in the 4-2 triumph against their League Two opponents and credited Burnley’s attacking mentality and work-rate.

“This was probably one of those games that went under the radar,” Gray said.

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“There are other ties out there that probably whetted people’s appetites more, but I was more concerned that we did a good professional job.

“The planning and the preparation after the disappointment of the Reading game was focusing on a professional job against a Port Vale side going very well in League Two, new manager syndrome so they were going to be at it.

“The objective was a professional job and to get into the hat for the next round.”

Goals from Clarke Carlisle, Tyrone Mears, Chris Eagles and a Graham Alexander penalty saw the Clarets progress to the fourth round of the competition where they were rewarded with a home tie against Burton Albion.

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Gray said: “We’ve got so many attacking options, and I’m a great believer that in possession you can attack with six and seven.

“It’s the first 20 minutes when you know it can be won and lost.

“We were on the front foot and scored a good goal. Again it was the quality of the goals we scored.

“For the third goal, we were defending a corner and suddenly five or 10 seconds later we’re 3-1 up with a great pass, a great move by Jack Cork and a great finish by Chris Eagles.

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“I’m a great believer that if we have 55 or 60 per cent possession of the ball, we’re going to hurt teams with the quality of players we’ve got from attacking full-backs to the wide players and the strikers, with forward thinking midfield players as well.”

He added: “When we lose the ball we have to defend with all 11 of our players.

“All credit to the players, I think certain players are seeing the other side of the game that they need to develop.

“When we haven’t got the ball it’s the energy to try to win the ball back.”

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However, he admitted that the Clarets’ struggle to keep a clean sheet was a cause for concern following Robert Taylor’s brace for the Valiants.

“In the last two home games we’ve scored eight goals but the disappointing thing is we’ve conceded four.

“There again I would rather win every game 4-2 if it means we’re going to concede.

“But it’s the manner in which we’re conceding, that’s the disappointing thing.

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“We conceded two sloppy goals at Reading, which was disappointing.

“I’m a great believer that you defend from the front.

“When you lose the ball you’ve got 11.

“It just means sometimes we play catch-up instead of being in the right positions.

“But I’ve seen teams mark zonal, I’ve seen teams mark man for man, if the quality of the ball in the box is there and the timing of the run is right sometimes you can’t defend against it.”