Dave Thornley, the Clarets Mad resident match summariser reflects on today's mauling at the hands and feet of Tottenham Hotspur.
As early as the second minute of this afternoon’s Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur, I knew exactly what sort of game this was going to turn out to be.
When our old foe Heung-Min Son broke down Burnley’s left and crossed low for Gareth Bale to prod the ball past Nick Pope, time seemed to stand still as the Burnley defence waited in anticipation of an offside flag that never came. Replays showed that Bale had indeed timed his devastating incursion to perfection.
Soon after it was two-nil, then before half time three, and in the second half four. Each subsequent goal too depressing to chronicle.
For the record, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura, and then Bale again, scored them.
In Kane, Son and Bale, Tottenham are able to call upon the services of three genuine World-class strikers, but it wa really important that Burnley at least tried their darndest to make life as difficult as possible for the trio to perform effectively.
Sadly, this afternoon, the Clarets were nowhere near good enough to keep the rampant Spurs trio at bay.
Based on his performance in the corresponding fixture last season, it should have come as no surprise to Burnley that Son would look to pick the ball up in deep positions and make surging runs into the heart of the defence.
This he did several times today, way too often without a Burnley player tracking his runs and shepherding him into areas of the pitch where he would prefer not to be.
Equally, if a player with the range of skills and the vision of Gareth Bale is afforded the time and space to pick out long passes into the soft under-belly of Burnley’s defence; then that is precisely what he is going to do.
These are basic defensive principles at which Burnley are usually so accomplished, but not today. Yes, the Clarets were outclassed, that can happen in the Premier League, but the level of performance was inadequate, and that is not okay.
We are therefore left to search for crumbs of comfort; one of which is that the teams around and below Burnley in the table have not make significant advances. The exception being West Brom, over whom Burnley still enjoy a sizable points advantage. Indeed, their win over Brighton, achieved in bizarre fashion, was probably the best outcome for the Clarets.
Burnley still need to win three, preferably four, of their remaining games to dispel any notion of relegation. Based on their performances in their last two matches it is hard to see where those victories will come from.
From previous form, under the auspices of Sean Dyche, Burnley are often at their most resilient at the very time that they look to be on the slide. They will need the gaffer to summon this resilience once more as Leicester City and Arsenal prepare to visit Turf Moor during the next week.
On the subject of Dyche; with the rumours swirling around about interest in acquiring his services from Crystal Palace and Celtic, the feeling persists that his time at Burnley may be drawing to a close; a feeling exacerbated by a noticeably increased propensity from a section of supporters to voice criticism where one there was only praise and gratitude.
If it is indeed the beginning of the end of Dyche’s tenure, then he will not wish to have his record tarnished by a second relegation, and the detrimental effect that this would have on his value to prospective employers.
For the club’s owners, the appointment following Dyche’s departure whenever it comes, is perhaps the most important one they will be required to make, and one they simply have to get right.
But for now, this is pure conjecture, the immediate challenge facing Burnley is for them to re-discover their form, rediscover their fighting spirit, and begin launching the business of picking up crucial points.
Ken Hanson posted this article across various social media outlets, written by uber Claret Dave Thornley, which was edited and posted via Clarets Mad, by The Editors Chair (TEC).