Clarets boss rues Austin absence as Clarets crash
Sean Dyche admitted the Clarets are embroiled in a relegation dogfight following the 1-0 defeat at Leeds United.
A Rodolph Austin goal just after the hour left Burnley just three points above the drop zone, albeit with a superior goal difference than teams below them.
But following the news that Charlie Austin will miss the remaining three games following surgery to remove his appendix, the Burnley boss has called on his players to display more fighting spirit.
Dyche said: “I am not naïve. We are looking over our shoulder because we’ve been dragged into it.
“We shouldn’t be where we are, but we are, so I’ve said to the players we have to take responsibility.
“They are just beginning to feel a little tighter and I’ve said ‘you just have to relax’.
“We need to go into games ready and raring to go, as we did against Bristol City a few short games back.
“But we have to get back to that sharpish because we have Cardiff coming to town on Saturday and they are not just going to roll over, even though they have been promoted tonight.
“I don’t know what we’ll need and the way it’s going at the minute it’s crazy.
“But we have to do enough and we have to earn everything we get from now on in - and that starts on Saturday.”
On 28-goal striker Austin’s setback, Dyche explained: “I would say that’s his season over!
“Charlie came in to training on Monday and felt a little uneasy, but we’ve had a couple hit with a virus recently.
“We thought it was that at first, but later in the day he still wasn’t feeling well, so he was sent off for blood tests to be sure and that showed levels that made it clear his appendix was playing up.
“They whipped it out quick, but the recovery will last four or five weeks now, so unfortunately that’s him done.
“It’s a great opportunity now for other people to step up to the plate though. When he was out in in mid-season we won four out of five games, so we don’t need to fear being without him.
"But we need to do better than we did tonight, that’s for sure.”
Dyche, who also lost Ben Mee with a hamstring injury, added: “I am very disappointed in our performance. Our levels have been steady but that wasn’t good enough tonight.
“They were the better side and trust me, I’ve seen them lately and they haven’t been playing like that!
“But they have had a reaction and were on the front foot tonight. We weren’t!
“We had a little rally late on, but by then the damage had been done.
“It was an open game and we just gave the ball away too cheaply. You come to places like this and you have to keep the ball, but there wasn’t enough fluid movement from us.
“Once you are on the back foot you have to find a way of securing the ball and we didn’t really do that until the last 15 minutes.
“I was just really disappointed because I really felt we could come here and do something, but you can’t afford to be off, coming to a place like Leeds with a new manager through the door and looking for a reaction.”