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Howe hoping for a run of the Mill day for Clarets
MILLWALL at home may not be regarded by many as the most daunting of Championship fixtures, but Burnley boss Eddie Howe knows only too well of the dangers of a below par performance tomorrow.
The Lions arrive at Turf Moor in the relegation zone with only six points from their seven games this season, and a team of few stars are rarely thought of by their Championship rivals as glamour opposition.
But Burnley have been here before and have come unstuck.
They were heavy favourites to claim a home win against Millwall two seasons ago, after taking 16 points from their previous six games. They lost 3-0.
If that was regarded as a one-off or a blip, lightning struck twice last season when Kenny Jackett’s side came to Turf Moor and claimed a 3-1 victory.
The game was perhaps best remembered for a stunning 30-yard volley from visiting midfielder Josh Wright.
“You won’t see a better Millwall goal this season,” Jackett said afterwards.
Jackett, in fact, has not seen another goal from Wright since.
“That’s no consolation to us, in fact that’s terrible news,” Howe admitted yesterday.
“When you concede a goal you instantly look at how you conceded it as a manager, well I do anyway.
“But for that goal you had to give an enormous amount of technical credit to the player, because it was a fantastic strike.
“It was a great goal in isolation, but one that we don’t want to see repeated.”
And Howe wants no repeat of the result either, hoping his players have seen enough of Millwall to be fully aware of why they need to be on form tomorrow.
“You only have to go back to the last two seasons, for us they have been very difficult games,” he said.
“Millwall are a tough nut to crack. They’re very physical and they’re a real threat from set plays.
“We don’t underestimate them, every time we play them we know what we can expect and we’ve got to certainly do better than we have done in the last two home games against them.”
“I wouldn’t say those results make us more wary, but they make us more aware.
“I think everyone associated with Burnley will see this as a must home win and we certainly share that view, but that doesn’t mean the game is easy. All Championship games are incredibly difficult.
“We’re certainly not taking them lightly in any way, shape or form.”
Howe was left frustrated on Tuesday as his side failed to build on Saturday’s 2-1 win at Derby, instead slipping to a 3-1 defeat in the Capital One Cup at League One side Swindon.
Two of the goals came from set pieces and the Clarets boss has identified that area in particular as one that must improve.
After tomorrow’s clash with Millwall, Burnley host Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday before travelling to Crystal Palace four days later in the final game before the international break.
With the Clarets currently 16th in the table, Howe knows the outcome of these three games could play a big part in the direction the club move in this season.
“It’s a massive week for us,” he said.
“We’re under no illusion about the importance of these three games.
“We can only take one at a time but I think it’s a big week in our season and hopefully we can get the momentum that we want.
“We have been scoring goals. It’s just been at the other end. Hopefully we can put that right.
“From our perspective we know we have to tighten up, it’s mainly from set plays.
“We’ve been through the statistics and without going into too much detail we’ve been disappointed with the number of goals we’ve conceded from set plays, either direct or from the second phase.
“From open play, touch wood we’ve been pretty tight.
“We know the areas we need to improve and if we do that with the goals we have in the side we should be pretty successful.
“At this stage of the season we need to find some consistency and hopefully we can do that.
“Without putting too much pressure on the team, it’s an important stage of the season for us and I think we’re all aware of where we are.”
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