TALKING TACTICS: Clarets punish Lions’ errors
Scout Phil Smith looks back on Burnley’s away win - and clean sheet - at Millwall on Saturday.
A THIRD goal of the week from Jay Rodriguez saw Burnley leave SE16 with all three points in the bag.
His 37th-minute strike condemned Millwall to their first home defeat of the season.
Burnley have now collected six points from a possible 12 away from Turf Moor this season - a marked improvement on their poor away record of the previous campaign.
Only 26 points from a possible 69 were pocketed last term.
Burnley rode their luck on occasion at The Den.
I would have preferred them to press higher up the pitch, particularly in the second half.
A deep defensive line invited Millwall to apply pressure.
People talk about having a square peg in a round hole.
This was certainly the case for the South East Londoners.
Three wingers were on the pitch, and creative outlet Liam Trotter was utilised in a holding role.
Hindsight is a wonderful tool, but perhaps Kenny Jackett will regret not switching the positions of Dany N`Guessan and Jay Simpson.
Millwall will feel they were worthy of a point.
Few would disagree.
Two penalty shouts, a disallowed effort and a clearance off the line emphasise that.
How did Burnley come out on top? Preparation
The key to success is preparation.
A motto I like to utilise is “fail to prepare and prepare to fail.”
It sticks in the craw when people offer excuses such as “they are top of the league”, “they are a Premier League side”, “they are on a different financial planet”, in the aim of explaining away a negative result. It is irrelevant.
Burnley do not spend their week at Gawthorpe merely pumping iron and running flat out on a treadmill.
Whether it be Manchester United or Vauxhall Motors, the football club must utilise the intelligence at their disposal.
Eddie Howe will sift through dossier after dossier in relation to his upcoming opponents.
Threats and weaknesses will be exposed and a plan of action utilised.
Burnley terrorised Nottingham Forest in wide areas last week.
This was no coincidence.
It would have been flagged that Jonathan Greening sat in front of a defensive unit of five.
They would have realised that space in the centre was condensed and Forest had difficulty regaining their shape.
The game was over by half time.
Burnley identified their weakness and collected the three points as a result.
I informed on Friday how individual mistakes rendered Millwalls defence highly inconsistent.
Burnley devised a set piece routine to exploit this.
David Edgar’s decoy run from a Ross Wallace corner took two defenders out of the equation.
Rodriguez put the ball in the onion bag (see diagram).
Credit must also go to Charlie Austin for interrupting David Forde’s line of vision.
However, the stopper should have saved the effort.
Questions will be raised about his handling and reflexes.
Millwall justifiably punished for their player leaving his position on the post - a basic error.