Sean Dyche insisted Burnley can still get out of trouble after their crucial Premier League game against another relegation candidate Watford ended in a goalless draw on Saturday night.
A series of postponements meant this was only Burnley’s fourth league game since mid-December, but they were late in the middle of the campaign with just one win from 19 – no team has gone that far with one or fewer wins and survived. from West Brom. in 2004-05.
Burnley sit bottom of the table, three points below Norwich in 17th, and although they still have games to go, they must find an answer to their goalscoring problems if they are to take advantage of any of them.
With Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea the next visitors to Turf Moor, a game against a Watford side that had picked up just one point out of a possible 24, a run that cost Claudio Ranieri his job, was a clear opportunity, but one Burnley could not take
“If it’s that easy to take what you describe as a missed opportunity, then everyone would take it and win every week,” Dyche said.
“I think it’s a performance that could have gotten a win, but we didn’t and that’s been the story of the season.
“So now it’s about adding to what we’re doing, keeping the foundation that has to be right in terms of clean sheets, but we have to start turning ties into wins and sometimes turning what looks like a game that is is moving away from you in a tie.
“We have done it historically and we have to do it again.”
The games will pile up for Burnley as they make up for lost time, but Dyche sees it as an opportunity, pointing to the runs the Clarets have used in each of the last two seasons to get out of trouble.
“Historically, we’ve been strong in the second half of the season and for sure we’re going to need all of that this season,” he said.
“We’re a little bit better than we were a few seasons ago; it might not sound like much, but it could be game-changing, you never know.”
There was an audible murmur on Turf Moor before kick-off as fans got their first look at Wout Weghorst, the 6-foot-6 deadline day, signed to replace Chris Wood.
The Dutchman, who scored 59 goals in 118 Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg, showed some flashes and connected well with Maxwel Cornet, but could not break Burnley’s wait for a first home goal since 20 November.
“I think Wout did very well,” Dyche said. “It is not easy to enter a group, he has accepted what the group is about. He will give us a waiting game, he will give us quality and as he gets used to the pace of the Premier League, when he gets his eye on him, I think he will do well.”
Saturday’s match saw Roy Hodgson return to the Premier League, although the 74-year-old could have been forgiven for wondering if it was all worth it while soaking wet on the touchline.
His Watford side are two points better than Burnley having played two more games.
“The task hasn’t gotten any easier or harder as a result of today, but what it has done is give Ray Lewington and myself a much better idea of what the players are capable of,” Hodgson said.
“When you fall behind in this league, you are catching up. The only way to recover is to win matches. We are not underestimating the task.
“It has given me a lot of encouragement that this team has the fight, the ability to organize and leave Burnley with a point.”