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Howe may ask for funds to strengthen leaking Clarets defence
EDDIE Howe could turn to the Burnley board for help in solving the Clarets’ defensive dilemma.
Having dropped points from winning positions to draw at home to Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, the Clarets went a step further with defeat at Crystal Palace.
A 2-0 lead – 2-1 at half time – was overturned in the second half at Selhurst Park to condemn Howe’s men to a 4-3 loss.
While Burnley have scored the most goals in the Championship, they are second behind League Two strugglers AFC Wimbledon in conceding the most in the entire Football League.
Howe stressed that run could not be allowed to continue, and may go in search of funds to add defensive reinforcements during the international break.
“Potentially, it’s an option,” said Howe. “I won’t make any knee jerk reactions but it’s certainly an option for me.”
When asked if finances would be made available to use the loan market, though, he added: “I don’t know.”
But the Burnley boss was in no doubt – after leading the last three games 2-1 at half time and having only two points to show for it – where their problems lie.
“I’ve never known a period like this in my management run when we’ve conceded goals like this,” said the former Bournemouth boss.
“We are going to have to tweak things.
“We thought at the start of the season it was just a run and fate was conspiring against us with some of the goals we conceded, but it's gone beyond that now.
“We changed the system to be tighter, played three in midfield and defended a little bit deeper.
“In the first half we defended really well and the game plan was working perfectly. But at the moment we are making individual errors. It's costing us, and we are making too many of them.”
The bulk of goals Burnley have conceded this season have come in the second half, and that pattern continuing against Palace, much to Howe's frustration.
“It's very, very strange. Individually players aren't performing. I can name a couple in my own mind that played really well in the first half and didn't produce that in the second half, for whatever reason, and that will of course impact on the team,” he said.
“It's a concern because we've gone into half-time leading the last three games and we've only got two points to show for it.
“It's easy to say fitness (is to blame), but we are as fit if not fitter than more teams in the division. We regularly do the stats. That's not an issue.
“I think (it is) the mentality to defending and decision making.
“To get done on the counter-attack three versus two with the system we played should never have happened and that's down to individuals not doing their jobs.”
But Howe accepted it was up to him to rectify the problem, and put faith in his players to improve.
“I said to the players after, I don't think it's a case they aren't good enough – I stand by my players 100 per cent – but we have to do better,” said the Burnley boss.
“Sometimes you have to let players know when you expect of them and at the minute, individually and collectively, we are not where we want to be.
“It's very much a case of we're at fault – or I'm at fault as the leader of the team – and I've got to put it right.
“Whenever you go through a run like we are on defensively it makes you determined to come out fighting and go again.
“When you score the amount of goals that we are at the moment and you're not getting the points to reflect that it's hugely frustrating.
“My job is to take the lows, take the highs and keep them on an even keel. That's what I'll do. I've always been the same.”
And Howe hopes the two-week break for internationals has come at the right time for the club.
“We've got two weeks now to work with the players,” he said.
“When you're playing Saturday-Tuesday you've no time to do anything really other than recover the players and get them ready.
“Now we've got a bit of time where we've got to work them. We've got to have a better mentality, defending all the way through the team.”