Aaron Lennon

'Burnley Looking To Lift The Pressure Off Their Shoulders'

Daniel Black, Sports Reporter at the Burnley Express, says it is crucial that the Clarets 'break the cycle' of four successive defeats when they welcome Leicester City to Turf Moor on Sunday.
More on this story...

- Burnley entertain Leicester City at Turf Moor on Sunday (2pm kick-off)
- The Burnley Express' Sports Reporter, Daniel Black, has previewed the encounter for LCFC.com
- Black says the Clarets will be desperate to end their run of four successive defeats
- Live coverage of the encounter will be available on LCFC Radio from 11am

Following a 1-0 success over Bournemouth just before Christmas, Sean Dyche's men have suffered losses to Everton, Manchester United, Aston Villa and Chelsea.

That run of form has left Burnley three points above the relegation zone and Black, who follows the Lancashire side closely, believes there has been a 'lack of bite and energy'.

"Four defeats in succession and seven losses from their last nine games in the Premier League hasn't done the Clarets any favours," he told LCFC.com ahead of Sunday's encounter.

"Six points from a possible 27 is relegation form, it's the third worst sequence on offer over that stretch in the top flight, which dates back to the end of November.

"Injuries haven't helped the situation; losing the likes of Ashley Barnes, Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood and Charlie Taylor has hit them hard while Phil Bardsley and Jay Rodriguez have been absent through illness. However, performances haven't been anywhere near good enough.

"They've lacked the bite and energy that has previously characterised the side under Sean Dyche.

Expand photo
Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche watches on at Stamford Bridge during last week's defeat by Chelsea.

"In games against AFC Bournemouth, Everton, Manchester United and Aston Villa the Clarets mustered a total of three shots on target.

"Burnley desperately need something to break this cycle and lift the pressure off their shoulders."

Asked to isolate the threats within Burnley's squad, he added: "Burnley have been starved of creativity and invention in recent weeks, but Charlie Taylor and Dwight McNeil are a force down the left hand side when their partnership clicks.

"The Clarets have been heavily reliant on McNeil's artistry and the 20-year-old was described as 'one of the top talents in the country' by Dyche following his contribution, when fighting a losing battle, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"The winger has been a bright spark in this darkened period of the season and has been involved in five goals so far this term. He's a threat from set-pieces, as is team-mate Ashley Westwood.

"The former Aston Villa man is the driving force in midfield and has laid on five goals during the campaign through his excellence from dead ball situations."

Black also believes Burnley have entered a juncture in their season where all fixtures carry a similar level of importance, such is their need for results.

"It sounds cliched, but every game is important for the Clarets, especially in their current predicament," he continued. "They're desperate for a performance and they're in need of the points.

The threat of Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Pérez speaks for itself and both Ben Mee and James Tarkowski will be on their guard. One thing is for certain - the home side will have to cut out the individual errors that have plagued them of late

Daniel Black Burnley Express

"Due to Southampton's renaissance and Watford's turn of form under Nigel Pearson they've been dragged back into a fight for survival and, with a home defeat to Aston Villa not helping the situation, they're now just three points off the bottom three.

"In seasons gone by Burnley have always stayed in games against the division's elite. The margins couldn't have been tighter in games against Manchester City and Spurs last season - with Pep Guardiola's side needing goal-line technology to edge the game at Turf Moor while Christian Eriksen's 90th-minute strike was the difference at Wembley.

"They also drew away at Chelsea. In the corresponding fixtures this time around they failed to test City, they were down and out away at Spurs within nine minutes and they shipped three at Stamford Bridge without reply.

"The omens aren't good going into the game against the Foxes; the Clarets haven't taken anything from any of the sides currently in the top six so far."

Managing the likes of Jamie Vardy, Ayoze Pérez, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison, including full-backs Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell, will also be key for Clarets, Black says.

"Dyche confessed that he felt his side had been 'waiting' for things to come to them in recent weeks so he'll be looking for his players to get at City from the off," he continued.

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Goals: Leicester City 2 Burnley 1

Watch the goals from City's 2-1 victory against the Clarets at King Power Stadium...

"They'll give the away side the respect they deserve having won six of their last seven on the road, but it's important that they don't give them too much as Leicester have individuals with qualities that can capitalise on that.

"Dyche will be focused on how Burnley can affect the game, rather than getting distracted by what Brendan Rodgers' side will bring.

"However, the full backs and wingers will be required to work hard up and down to negate the threats of Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell while the midfielders will need to tighten things up to prevent Youri Tielemans and James Maddison from influencing the play.

"The threat of Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Pérez speaks for itself and both Ben Mee and James Tarkowski will be on their guard.

"One thing is for certain - the home side will have to cut out the individual errors that have plagued them of late."

All times GMT.

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