Following last night’s disappointing draw at home to Middlesbrough there has been a lot of talk of a ‘typical negative Dyche performance’. Is Sean Dyche really that negative?
Middlesbrough came to Turf Moor to frustrate. Tony Mowbray admitted as much in his post-match press conference as he told of packing the midfield to stifle the Clarets. Despite this, Burnley dominated for the whole of the first half, it was by no means exciting football but the Clarets were seeing the most of the ball and often in the visitor’s half of the pitch.
Boro were playing with such a defensive mentality that even striker Marvin Emnes rarely moved far from his own half, as they went without a shot in the whole of the first half and quite possibly didn’t muster a meaningful effort until the closing minutes when Ishmael Miller found the roof of the net and Lee Grant was forced to make his first real save moments later when Mustapha Carayol had a dipping effort from range.
The reason we aren’t sat here today talking about a win and three points gained in the play off race is our failure to convert chances. The corner count at full time was 12 for the Clarets with the visitors winning just one but I am struggling to think of a single corner move out of those 12 where we threatened Jason Steele’s goal. We had two real chances that were well stopped by Steele and on another day you could have been looking at us going in to the break with a two-goal cushion but that was not to be.
It is less about the chances that were saved though and more about the chances that weren’t grabbed. I lost count of the times a deep cross was put into the box with simply nobody anywhere close to the ball’s destination. If you are to play the game with wingers getting deep crosses into the box there needs to be the bodies there to convert them. This is possibly where you could pick fault with Dyche’s line up. Two up front with Sam Vokes alongside Charlie Austin should provide you with more chance of converting crosses, but prior experience of this formation tells us that this is not always the case.
Burnley also had two potential penalties turned away. The referee inexplicably missed Martin Paterson being carried across the box by his marker and Chris McCann was quite possibly in the box when he was awarded a free kick in the second half.
At the end of the night, Burnley were left rueing their inability to get in the positions to capitalise on the crossing that was being provided by the wingers and full backs. Early season, Charlie Austin would have headed a winner last night and I don’t think you can blame Dyche for his poor fitness.