We need to be clear minded in what we do
Burnley travel to Southampton tomorrow and it will be a first ever game against the Clarets for their manager Claude Puel who replaced Ronald Koeman in the summer.
The Southampton media have been highlighting for much of the week that we have the worst goalscoring record this season in the Premier League and that the home side should go within one of their record of eight successive clean sheets, achieved over two seasons in 1922.
They seem to have decided that we won’t score and neither will Inter Milan next Thursday in the Europa League but Puel isn’t interested in that at all. “I prefer to lose this record and win the game,” he said, meaning, I think, that he’d rather win the game 2-1 than keep a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw.
In terms of the clean sheets, he added: “It’s interesting because you can show that you are strong and with a good solidarity but the most important thing is to win the game. If you can score two or three goals it will be fantastic and the same if you concede one or two goals it’s not a problem for me. A good result to start this hard month of many games is important.”
He admitted he would need to give team selection some serious consideration, saying: “All the players want to play every game. it’s important for me to do a selection and to have opportunities for the team to win every game.
“Burnley is important first of all and then we can talk about Inter Milan, but Inter Milan is another competition, it’s not just a game, it’s about qualification from the group. It’s important to keep this in mind and to accept all the time to change the team and keep the good level.”
Sean Dyche has recently changed system and it was suggested to him that the change had come about because of Andre Gray’s suspension. Dyche rightly pointed out that we’d played that way with Gray in the side.
“Ironically it wasn’t because of Andre’s suspension, we actually changed it for the Leicester game,” he said. “We had a look at in and thought how do we need to operate.
“I’ve said after the last couple of games, it’s important that I’m flexible, and my coaching staff are flexible as well. We always have been, more than people think and we debate a lot. But I’ve always said that the reason why I like two strikers is because you’ve got two predominant chances of scoring and strikers are there for that reason. If you look at our strikers’ records they are pretty impressive.
“We are also aware that in certain situations that needs to adapt and change. I changed it for the Leicester game and stuck with it because even despite the result I saw through it. I thought there were some merits in there, the scoreline was 3-0 but it didn’t play out like that, it was a mad four minutes I called it and I had to see through the result and ask how did it look.
“There was a large part of that game when it looked bright and it looked like people knew how they were playing and the expectation of playing and still trying to be productive. We took that into the Watford game and we all know what happened there and then into the Arsenal game and I thought it was a very good performance against Arsenal. We were absolutely deserving of something and it got taken away in the last few seconds.
“It’s important that we have flexibility as a staff and a manager, and it’s important that the team can use that flexibility to still be productive and there have been good signs of that so far. Obviously we still have the ability to play with a two if we wish to, or one off the two as we often play, so we’ll look at that going forwards as well.
With travelling to Italy to play Inter Milan in the San Siro next week, could that give us a slight advantage? “Hopefully, but I think times have changed,” he said. “Every game’s a big game now if you like in the Premier League, they are cameras everywhere and scrutiny is rife. I think players become more adaptable to these sort of challenges.
“It’s different, of course, for them but I’m not over thinking it. I hope it does, quite obviously. If it affects them and is detrimental to them then fantastic but I think players are pretty solid with their profession nowadays so we need to play well. We know that, we need to go down, be clear minded in what we do and be ready to go.”
Sam Vokes will be returning to play against the club he supports while Southampton have two former Burnley strikers to call upon in Charlie Austin and Jay Rodriguez.
Dyche said: “I missed Jay Rod here but I believe he’s a fantastic pro and person. I’ve been told he’s a fantastic lad as well. He’s had a real tough time but he seems to have come through it and we wish him well.
“And Charlie, obviously, I did work with. I think a lot of Charlie and now and again I share a couple of text messages. I’m really pleased with what he’s done. He moved away from here and he’s gone on, even through a few challenges and injuries, got on with his career and got another move since. Beyond Sunday, we wish them well, of course.”Share this page :