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Bird's Eye View: Give us a break!

7 March 2013

Clarets Player commentator Phil Bird on all things football

Officials Take Centre Stage:

Different arena, different level but officials certainly played a big part in Tuesday night’s proceedings.  Don’t tell me referees don’t affect results because this evidence clearly tells you they do. 

For Manchester United in the Champions League they will be disappointed with the harsh decision to send off Nani. That was a turning point in their tie against Real Madrid

The Clarets weren’t at their best against Barnsley, not by a long way. However, we led through Charlie Austin and we had a grip on the game.

Stephen Foster could have gone for his crude two-footed challenge on Austin in the first half but he certainly should have gone when he pulled Martin Paterson back in the second half. 

Likewise later in the half, I am 100% certain we should have had a penalty when Martin Cranie felled Austin in the box.

Those were basic, relatively straightforward decisions. They are facts not excuses. Once the officials miss those it gives the Tykes an enormous lift and allows them a chance to get back in the game.

Crystal Palace have had a whopping 14 penalties in the Championship, while we have had a miserly five. Without exaggeration, Austin could have already gone past 30 for the season if a few more decisions had gone our way.

We will be disappointed with the last three Tuesdays at Turf Moor. Huddersfield Town (42), Barnsley (34) and Middlesbrough (33) have conceded more goals than anyone else away from home in the Championship. 

Yet we have only scored once in those 270 minutes. Yes, we have tightened things up at the back – nine of our 11 clean sheets have come under Sean Dyche – but maybe now we need a little bit more flair going forward.

Hunting the Tigers:

Next up it’s Hull at home and Monday night football at the Turf. I’ll whisper this – we’ve won our last seven against City. They view us as a bogey side. 

Steve Bruce has done well employing a 3-5-2 formation. They pack the midfield and get the wing backs bombing down the flanks. Ex-Tiger Dean Marney got the winner at the KC Stadium back in November in one of our best performances of the season. 

A Monday night fixture isn’t ideal but it does give us a chance to get Marney, Ross Wallace, Ben Mee and Michael Duff fit again. We will look at stronger squad with them back. We need a performance in front of our own fans and in front of the SKY cameras. 

Emergency Services Please

Back to the Nani sending off at Old Trafford, I had to chuckle at the fan who called 999 to report Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir for his decision to send off the Portuguese winger!  

Fortunately, for the foolish Reds fan the police aren’t going to take any action for wasting their time. 

Ironically, and true to form, the United fan was based in Nottinghamshire!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Burnley FC.

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