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Burnley boss Laws defends changes after Coventry City loss
BURNLEY manager Brian Laws defended the changes he made during Saturday’s loss at Coventry City, which led to the Clarets dropping from sixth to 10th in the Championship.
A double substitution, similar to the one which inspired a winning comeback at home to Watford the previous weekend, was met with derision by the travelling fans at the Ricoh Arena.
The 500-plus strong following chanted “You don’t know what you’re doing” in response to the withdrawal of Jack Cork in the 68th minute.
The on-loan Chelsea midfielder made way for Ross Wallace, who had a terrific impact from the bench in the previous game, while Steven Thompson again replaced Chris Iwelumo, 11 minutes after Michael Doyle scored what proved to be the decisive goal.
But while Burnley fans welcomed fresh legs in the second half, they were baffled as to why Cork was taken off.
“The changes were identical to last week, and it worked, so I don’t know where the frustration comes from, because I’m sure they (the supporters) wanted it to happen as much as anything else,” said Laws, who had traded Wade Elliott for Wallace against Watford.
“Ross had a good period last week, and it was very tough not to start with him, because he was effective. But it’s not the team that starts, it’s the team that finishes that’s more the critical point, and you have to have plan A and plan B.
“It might have been better for Ross to start, but the formation was nothing to do with it, because we dominated the first half, so it was the right decision at that time.
“The changes we made didn’t work as they did last week.”
He added: “The fans are getting frustrated anyway because they know week in, week out how we’ve played away from home, we’ve deserved a lot more than we’ve got, and that’s the disappointment.
“It probably epitomised it here.
“In that period where you make changes, the instructions were to get down the sides and do some combination work where we can get at our full backs.
“I thought we were doing that too deep, and in the end, our crosses were coming in too early, and easy to defend against.
“That frustrates the supporters, because they know we’re better than that, I know we’re better than that.
“When we conceded the goal - that was probably their one shot at goal in open play.”
And Laws was critical of the way his players panicked under pressure after going a goal down.
“I think the frustration got the better of us,” he said.
“I thought we were in complete control for long periods of the game, right up until they scored.
“For me, there looked only one team who was going to go on and win the game, and that was us.
“We were patient, we passed the ball well, moved it purposefully in the first half and created chances to score.
“That disappoints me because we’re not clinical enough in front of goal, particularly away from home, for some reason, our calmness in front of goal seems to disappear and it’s costing us dearly.
“That adds pressure when you concede because you want to get back in the game as quickly as possible, but, particularly in the last 20 minutes, we stopped doing what we were doing in the first period, being patient, playing down the sides of their back four, and causing them problems.
“We ended up going direct, of which there was no instruction to do, in fact, that was the time to be even more patient.
“The good sides stay patient, and their opportunity will come.”
Laws added: “It looked like it was the last five minutes of the game in that last 20 minutes, and that’s something we’ve got to get out of our system, because there’s no way we’ll change the mentality unless we do the right things.
“The performance levels have been very good, they don’t collate with the results, but I know what we’ve got to work on, and that’s patience more than anything else.”