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Philliskirk: Our Best Yet

Youth team coach praises second-half fightback as Clarets stay on track

19 February 2019

Tony Philliskirk hailed the best 35 minutes of his time as the Clarets’ youth-team boss as Burnley “kept their season alive.”

The Clarets trailed 1-0 at half-time to Leeds United in a game they couldn’t afford to lose against one of their rivals for a possible top-two finish and a play-off spot in the Professional Development League.

But an inspired second-half performance earned the Clarets a fourth successive league win as two goals apiece from Michael Fowler and Mitch George drew Burnley level with the Yorkshiremen in second place in the northern group.

“I thought that 35 minutes at the start of the second half were the best I’ve seen since I came into the club,” said Philliskirk, who arrived at Turf Moor last December.

“They took on board what we said, and I thought for 35 minutes we were great.

“There’s room for improvement but it looked like a Burnley performance.

“We were dominant, we were on the front foot, we picked up second balls and we played forward with positivity and looked a threat every time we went forwards.

“I’m really proud of the lads and they should be proud of themselves.

“I thought Leeds were a very good team and that’s a smashing result and a smashing second-half performance and, basically, keeps our season alive.”

Philliskirk sent on Chris Conn-Clarke at half-time in a switch to a 4-4-2 formation and urged his players to press higher and deliver the ball better.

And they responded superbly with four goals in an 18-minute burst.

With further chances to add to their lead, the Clarets could have wiped out Leeds’ superior goal difference.

And only a late effort from the visitors, which kept them two goals ahead of Burnley in pursuit of Sheffield Wednesday at the top of the table, and the dismissal of Conn-Clarke in an injury-time melee frustrated the Clarets’ boss.

“It’s easy for us to say it from the side, so the credit has to go to the players for implementing what we say,” Philliskirk added.

“I thought we moved the ball really well in the second half and we were really positive and penetrated.

“There were a few tweaks tactically and a few words where we challenged the boys, because that was a really un-Burnley like performance in the first half.

“With young players all you can do is throw them challenges down and see if they respond and I thought the lads were great in the second half.”

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