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Dyche: Villa Reaction

1 January 2020

Sean Dyche felt his players’ first half malaise cost them dearly in the home defeat to Aston Villa.

The Clarets trailed 2-0 at half time after Wesley and Jack Grealish made the Clarets pay for a sluggish opening 45 minutes.

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Burnley rallied after the break following a double substitution that saw the introduction of Jay Rodriguez and Johann Berg Gudmundsson – and were eventually rewarded when Chris Wood headed his eighth goal of the season 10 minutes from time.

But despite peppering the Villa box throughout the half, there was to be no new year cheer as Dyche’s men fell to a third straight defeat.

The gaffer admitted: “In a nutshell, we didn’t turn up in the first half.

“It’s a strange one after such a strong second half against Manchester United, but we just didn’t get to grips with the game at all, either in or out of possession.

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“The details weren’t there, and they were soft mistakes for their goals, and we just didn’t ask enough questions.

“Credit to Villa because they had a good half, but then the second half brought a vast change in the performance.

“We dominated and asked more than enough questions to get something from the game, given the chances we created.

“That’s the positive I can take from the game; the number of chances we created, and there were a couple where you were left scratching your head how they didn’t end up in the net.

“But by then we are chasing things and we were just a long way short in that first half; miles away from where we’ve been and you can’t give teams a leg up.”

Dyche, who admitted the withdrawn Ashley Barnes was still struggling with a groin problem, added: “It’s incredibly frustrating because you are seeing the players in the build-up and seeing the feel of the squad, and it ends up being a long way short of what we expect.

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“There wasn’t any bawling and shouting at half time.; just reminders about tuning in.

“I reminded them of the simplicity because sometimes when a team changes their shape it can put you on the back foot, but there was no need for that.

“We’ve beaten Southampton here when they had three centre backs, we’ve beaten Newcastle with a three, Watford with a three and took a point at Wolves with a three.

“To me – and I’ve seen it so many times– we were waiting for the game to come to us in the first half.

“Football is not that simple; you have to go and get the game, and in the second half we did that but unfortunately when we were two goals down.”

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Wood’s headed goal, which resulted in visiting keeper Tom Heaton being stretchered off with a knee injury, was their first since the last gap winner at Bournemouth in the final game before Christmas.

But Dyche added: “That’s the way it goes sometimes and it will probably come again because that’s the reality for teams like us in the Premier League.

“It’s very difficult and that’s why strikers cost so much money.

“We have had spells like this before when we haven’t scored, but you end up looking for positives and we’ve had 21 efforts on goal.

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“Eventually, if you have that many efforts, you are going to score.

“But you can’t turn up and play like that for a half in the Premier League because, unless you have a lucky half, you are never going to get what you want.”

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