Things we learned about Burnley 0, Spurs 2

Here are some things we learned about yesterday's 2-0 defeat at home to Spurs

Sunday, 2nd April 2017, 2:49 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:19 pm
Andre Gray bursts away from Moussa Dembele

Burnley are far from safe - yet

I don't think anyone of a Claret persuasion ever fully believed the noise from outside the town that Burnley were safe - never mind boss Sean Dyche and his players.

Coming through the run of four-successive away games with a 10-point cushion reduced to eight seemed to be something of a result, but defeat to Spurs, allied with a Hull City win at home to West Ham, means Burnley are just five points - and a hugely superior goal difference - clear of the Tigers in 18th.

And, while Burnley's run of seven Premier League games without a win needs context, with five away games and home games against Chelsea and Spurs, they need to snap out of that sequence as soon as possible.

But this is not a time for over-reaction and panic, just what Dyche does best, rational thinking.

The side have never bought into the feeling that they are safe yet, which seems to pervade in every pundit’s look at the fight to stay up. They know 32 points isn’t enough.

There is no sense of relaxing, that the job is done.

They’re not “on easy street”, as Dyche added.

And they can’t afford to be, especially with Hull’s impressive home form, with five wins in six games. The one game they didn’t win? - against Burnley curiously, despite their lack of points on the road.

But the Clarets have to get back to what they do best, and while there were signs of that aggressive, high tempo game against Spurs, they didn’t quite look their usual selves, albeit against a very good side in Spurs.

Dyche insists the challenge hasn't changed, and he is right, but five points clear with eight games remaining is still a position everyone would have taken, ahead of a home game with Stoke City and a trip to Middlesbrough.

And a win over the Potters on Tuesday night would move Burnley within a point of Mark Hughes' side, who will start the game in ninth position.

Burnley are also only a point behind West Ham and Leicester, and two behind Watford, Bournemouth and Southampton.

Burnley need their biggest threats on the pitch

The decision to take Andre Gray off 10 minutes into the second half mystified many.

Gray had stretched the Spurs centre backs and looked Burnley's most likely attacking threat.

However, Sean Dyche wanted to “play a bit more robust” with Sam Vokes joining Ashley Barnes, but Barnes had been ineffective, and the change removed Burnley’s pace, and allowed the Spurs defence to play higher up the pitch, as they went on to control the second half.

Most presumed Gray was injured, due to the timing of the decision, with Dyche normally reticent to change things as early, but he said: "We were seeing if we could affect it, we felt we'd tried to affect it by stretching the game, and it didn't quite work for us.

"We tried to affect it by playing a bit more robust, which worked slightly, without making those key moments, and sometimes you're only a pass away from that."

Money on the bench

Dyche went on to add: "We're still building, we get into really good positions, and it's just finding that final moment, and that's an important part of us continuing to develop as a side."

He has to find the balance between retaining the side's strong defensive framework, with an ability to make the most of their attacking threat.

And one big source of frustration is seeing nigh on £29m of talent on the bench, while struggling to carve out clear-cut chances.

There are mitigating factors, with Steven Defour only just back from injury, and Robbie Brady struggled to get up to speed in his first three starts.

But the Clarets are crying out for moments of inspiration, and if anyone is going to provide them, those two would be high up the list, you would imagine.

They were introduced late in the game - too late, with Spurs over the hill and far away at 2-0 up.