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Howe: 'Toughen Up'

3 October 2012

The Gaffer's reaction following the 3-3 draw with Sheff Wed

Eddie Howe urged his players to “toughen up” after Burnley surrendered the lead three times in the home draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
Charlie Austin’s second hat-trick in five games could only bring the one point after a late goal for the second successive game denied the Clarets.
However, Howe insisted the players’ dressing room reaction left him with plenty of cause for optimism for the long road ahead.

Howe said: “The lads are really frustrated in the dressing room, but what I saw in the 15 minutes after the game has made me feel we have a real chance of being successful.
“We have a great, honest group and this is the first time they have really spoken. They are such a quiet group, but tonight they stood up and told a few home truths to each other, which is fantastic from my perspective.
“They are a team that is growing all the time. But they are also a team that cares and I am sure every Burnley supporter will be pleased to hear that.
“They care deeply about their profession and they want to be successful and they will do everything we can to do that.
“I was so pleased with that response and now we have to go and deliver it on the pitch, which is always the hardest part.”
Austin’s first half headed brace saw the Clarets in 2-1 at the break before Chris O’Grady’s second of the night levelled things up again.
Austin thought he had won it with a magnificent third in the closing stages, only for Michail Antonio to end the Owls run of six successive defeats with an even better equaliser.
Howe added: “It’s frustrating, but we have to accept we weren’t good enough defensively tonight, individually and collectively.
“The same problems came back to haunt us and we have to toughen up.
“We haven’t defended well enough as a team all season and we know that.
“We have to put it right because we are scoring goals and providing great entertainment, but from my perspective it’s frustrating and although their third is a great goal it doesn’t make me feel any better.
“The first two goals are sloppy and we now have to go away and work at it because that’s all you can do.

“We had a problem with set players and we went away and worked on that and we look stronger.
“Now we have to do that in open play, not to say we don’t work on them already. But there is a fine balance and we’ve tipped that at the moment.”
Howe, who explained that Jason Shackell and Chris McCann both missed out through knee injuries, added: “There was a spell in the first half when we played as well as we have and the movement and passing was good.
“I was really pleased at the bravery of the players in trying to do the right thing all the time, which we ask them to do.
“In the second half it became more difficult and there is stuff to work on.
“It’s just a shame Charlie can’t enjoy the hat-trick because he looks so confident in front of goal and his third was the pick. It was an absolutely fantastic goal.”

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