We can only do it one step at a time in pre-season
Burnley’s third pre-season game ended in a 4-1 win at Bradford City but there were positives for both managers, Sean Dyche and home boss Stuart McCall who was in charge of a game at Valley Parade for the first time in his second spell as manager.
McCall saw his side concede three goals in just a few first half minutes after what he thought had been a good start for his side. “The first fifteen minutes I was really pleased with,” he said. “The lads set off with real confidence, playing some good football and creating a couple of chances, but then we got hit with three goals in six minutes.
“That obviously knocked our momentum and it would have been easy to have gone flat afterwards but we kept going and got one back. There isn’t much you can do at times when you are up against the quality, the first two goals at least were good goals from their point of view.
“The third goal is disappointing from us though, it is a bread and butter ball that we should be dealing with better. We bounced back from that triple confidence blow and got a goal I felt our first half performance certainly deserved.
“The second half seemed fairly equal. They brought on a number of subs after the break, fresh legs, making it another challenge for us. The last goal for them is a bit sloppy for us but overall, considering the quality we were up against, I can be happy with some of the individual performances.”
McCall added: “We wanted a number of players to get some minutes under their belt, plus the injuries we have, meaning we had to play with a certain shape today. We had to play (Filipe) Morais in that number ten role and then Billy Clarke up top even though he is really normally a number ten himself.
“We also had three of last season’s back four missing, plus big Hans (James Hanson), Romain (Vincelot) and perhaps a couple others to come in, so there is options to come back. Today was a good exercise for us and we’ll have learned some valuable lessons.”
The biggest concern for Sean Dyche was losing two strikers, Ashley Barnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz, in the matter of minutes with hamstring injuries. He explained: “Ashley felt his hamstring and that’s why he just walked straight off. I’ve told the players to do that. There are no heroes at this stage and as soon as they feel anything at all they have to head off, because then there’s a shorter recovery period. We hope it’s a minor one, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“Lukas was going to come out for the second half, but his hamstring was tight when he was warming up, so I said not to push it. We want people fit.”
Fellow striker Andre Gray, who had already scored in the two previous games, was on the mark twice in the first half. “There were some fine goals as well it was a really good work-out in a good environment,” the manager said. “Every game is a new challenge and we are building and looking for that balance.
“The early games are purely fitness, and then we’ll look at fitness and performance and I thought there were good signs and a good physicality to today’s performance. There are some really good signs, but will all due respect to Bradford, there are going to be bigger, higher quality clubs coming.
“It’s good practice, but we can only do it one step at a time in pre-season by building the mentality and the fitness and, of course, the organisation of the side and I was pleased with all that today.”
New goalkeeper Nick Pope got the second half while Josh Ginnelly and Dan Agyei, two young players who featured at Colne last night, got on for their first team debuts alongside Aiden O’Neill who has featured in all three games so far.
Dyche was happy about that: “It’s good to get the young players out,” he said. “They are young players who have trained with us before and experienced our first team squad. It’s important they get that exposure, in training and out on the pitch, so that bodes well.”Share this page :