Was Dyche too negative against Middlesbrough?

Burnley Football Club Burnley Football Club
James Bird February 20, 2013
Middlesbrough's media guys thought it was on the line. I ... 2 years ago

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.

  • Matt Hall

    The McCann free kick was definitely outside the box imo

  • Steve Kelly

    Apart from a 5 minute spell the subs turned the game Boros way, so switching to two up front is not always the best move. Dyche has to use the players at his disposal in the best system for them.

    My controversial comment on the way home last night was to allow Paterson, McCann and Austin to leave because the two strikers don’t suit one up top as can be seen by our results when they play, and McCann is not dynamic enough for me. No surprise some of our best results were when Charlie was out.

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Steve Kelly

      Austin will probably be off in the summer anyway. I disagree on McCann though – I think it’s his partner in midfield that’s the problem.

  • Matthew Macgregor

    We was all over them they hardly got a kick but we couldn’t produce many goal scoring chances apart from crosses into the box which no1 really got on the end of, I would give dane richards a chance

    • Jamie Smith
      Jamie Smithin reply to Matthew Macgregor

      Bit surprised he didn’t throw him on for a few minutes late on when the game was a bit more stretched.

  • No Nay Never

    Phil Bird on Clarets Player was adamant the McCann foul was on the line – which is a penalty.

  • Matt Hall

    I can only go on what I saw at first hand but I would be surprised if it was. Looked to me like there was a definite gap. Would have to see a slo mo!

  • reevo

    Straws and snatching folks! we should have killed this game off any top 6 team would have done the job on boro in the first 20 mins. We simply ain’t good enough what’s more worrying is what will we look like in a seasons time! Boring football under Dyche for me

  • reevo

    Also enjoyed a bit of corporate last night had full view of the Mcann thing ball wasn’t even on the line absolutely NOT a pen

    • James Birdin reply to reevo

      Middlesbrough’s media guys thought it was on the line. I cut a quick reply for myself at the time and thought the same.