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Chris Flanagan: Clarets don’t know when they’re beaten
IT ended in a draw, but Saturday’s match at QPR perhaps told us more about the current Burnley side than any of their 14 league wins.
Only 11 minutes had gone and the Clarets were in big trouble.
They already trailed 1-0 to a Kevin Doyle goal, and QPR had come close to scoring on three more occasions.
The home side were creating chances at will and Burnley could not stop them.
It looked like becoming a mismatch, the haves asserting their authority over the have nots.
But the Clarets’ response to that disastrous start told us exactly why they currently sit third in the table, when some still insist they will not stay there.
Undeterred, they rolled up their sleeves and took the game to QPR.
For long periods they simply outplayed them and by the end they could and should have won.
It is hard to imagine almost any other side in the Championship going to Loftus Road and responding to adversity in quite such impressive fashion, against a QPR side packed with a plethora of big name players.
Statistics can tell you pretty much whatever you want them to.
Yes, it is true that Burnley have won only two of their last eight games.
Yes, they would have wanted to win their last two home matches against Sheffield Wednesday and Brighton rather than drawing them both.
But what should also be remembered is that in 28 league games so far this season, Burnley have lost only three times.
If you’re looking for the last time the Clarets have lost so few matches at this stage of the season, you have to go back to the 1972/73 campaign.
Then Burnley lost only four times all season as they won the Division Two title.
Their second defeat of the campaign came at QPR at the end of January.
Burnley have lost less games than any other sides in the Championship this season and that is as much down to their character as their ability.
The comeback from 2-0 down at Millwall was another perfect example, even a similar recovery against Southampton in the FA Cup – even though eventually they did in fact lose that match.
This is a side that never knows when it is beaten, and never knows when to give up.
That is a mentally that comes from the top down, for which Sean Dyche must take much credit.
They will need that sort of spirit more than ever in the last 18 games of the season, when the promotion race really gets serious.
How things will turn out is impossible to predict right now.
But one thing is for sure. The Clarets will not give up without a fight.
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