Sunday, 11 September 2011

Lack Of Momentum May Be To Blame

Burnley v Middlesbrough
3pm Saturday 10th September 2011

Love them or hate them the international breaks are as much a part of the game as warm meat pies on a Saturday afternoon. I have to say that this last one may be to blame for Saturday’s performance. After the first win of the season at Derby, Eddie Howe’s men, finally, seemed to have got in to their stride. But then along came the enforced break to throw a spanner in the works and ruin all that momentum.

There have been some positive strides made over the last few weeks especially regarding the facilities for the players at Gawthorpe, our training ground. Eddie has worked hard with the club to make these facilities a reality. The players can now afford the luxury of being able to eat, change and train in one place. Instead of the previous system where they ate and changed at the Turf before driving back and forth to the Padiham site. They even now have a common room and their very own masseuse! Well I’m beginning to think that they are being rubbed up the wrong way!

Maybe all this pampering has made them lose focus of the job in hand? Or maybe we just weren’t good enough.

Middlesbrough’s last defeat in any competition was against us last season and that game was also our last home win! Statistics are always there to be broken. But Tony Mowbray’s men came into the game unbeaten in the league, and unbeaten in their last seven in all competitions this season. We had won one in the league, and it showed.

Boro were far and away the far more physical side. They did however throw a few dives in that Tom Daley would have been proud of. This did seem to spoil the flow of the game and the Clarets never really got chance to get the ball down and play it like they wanted to.

Dean Marney seemed to spend all day chasing shadows in the centre of the park and Ross Wallace was ineffective on the right, then left, then centre, then right again.

Burnley seemed to lack the desire to push forward and go past the opposition and when we did it was down the centre, but this played in to Middlesbrough’s game plan and we were pushed back time and time again.

The worrying thing for me is why, when we were playing with two wingers, Keith Treacy and Ross Wallace, did we not go down the flanks more often? Surely if going down the middle isn’t working then try wide play.

The introduction of Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines, showed a flash of what may be to come. They played some great one touch football but too little too late. Passing the ball around the centre when you are two nil down with ten minutes to go isn’t going to win a football match.

Maybe Eddie needs a bit more time for the team to gel. What is clear is that it needs to do it quick. We are already slipping away from the pack and it’s going to be a difficult climb back if we’re not careful. Let’s hope the Gaffer uses the extra time he has with the players, now they don’t have to ferry themselves through town, to build their confidence and desire before the away trip to The Posh on Saturday.

Then it’s another break in proceedings with the Carling Cup against MK Dons, who are riding high in League One at the moment. Could this be a potential banana skin or the spring board we need to push forward?

Let’s hope it’s the latter.

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