Clarets Blog: Defensive solidity hasn’t come at price of attacking intent (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Clarets Blog: Defensive solidity hasn’t come at price of attacking intent
WE may have had to wait until nine minutes from time for a goal to arrive on Saturday but what a goal it was.
Junior Stanislas seemed to take an age to decide what to do with the ball before curling it sublimely into the top corner of the Crystal Palace goal.
It was no less than we deserved (again) after another performance in which we dominated for long periods and carved out a number of chances, albeit without testing Speroni in the Palace goal.
Stanislas was restored to the side and put in a decent shift on the wing.
There there has been a criticism of Junior in the past, it is that he lacks a killer instinct at times.
But the way in which he took his goal – to follow up on the two he notched midweek for the development squad at Everton – was superb.
A special mention too for our full-backs who were simply magnificent.
Kieran Trippier managed to make Wilfried Zaha look very ordinary while Danny Lafferty – who is turning into a real find – did an equally impressive job on Yannick Bolasie.
I was surprised at how little Palace offered but maybe that is taking away from the work of those in claret and blue.
It was interesting to see Sean Dyche refer to a raft of stats after the game, which pretty comprehensively put an end to the perception that we have become less creative since he arrived.
It has been obvious to everyone that we have suddenly become more solid at the back and the clean sheet on Saturday is our third in four league games. What hasn’t been apparent to most is the fact that far from turning into a boring side without ideas, we are actually creating around the same amount of chances per game as we were before Dyche’s arrival.
The one area where we are not performing quite so well is converting those chances into goals and there was evidence of that on Saturday.
But the fact that we are creating those chances and our players are getting into the areas where they really should be scoring is pleasing.
The win against Palace lifted us to 10th in the table and we are just four points outside the top six.
This division is a strange one and I don’t think any side, apart from Cardiff City who may yet bottle it as they tend to do in the spring, and Leicester City there are any teams who have stamped their mark on the table this season.
Palace themselves have struggled for consistency in recent weeks yet were sitting in third before coming to the Turf.
This campaign, regardless of the manager, was always going to be a tricky one but I do think that with Dyche at the helm we will continue to improve.
It is not going to happen overnight but the signs are good.
Looking to the future, I saw the young Clarets take on Manchester City on Thursday night in the FA Youth Cup and I was very impressed with how they played against Premier League opposition.
Up against a City side which featured one player who had cost them £2.4million and one who had scored for the first team last weekend, they were never outclassed. I’ve said it a number of times but Terry Pashley has done, and is doing, a fantastic job at nurturing the club’s young talent.
I hope we see many of the lads from Thursday night get their chance at first team level eventually.
The cup dream may be over for them this season but they should be looking to the future with some excitement because I know I am.
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