COMING just two days after Halloween, this is a performance that will have given Sean Dyche something of a fright.

Not only was a first 45 minutes that saw Sheffield United end the game as a contest well below what he expects from his side but it also gave a reminder of some of the nightmares the Clarets endured the first half of last season.

The wider context is at least a little different here.

This may have been a third defeat in a row, coming on the back of reverses against Chelsea and Leicester. But a solid start means the Clarets are in far better shape overall than they were in the midst of their struggles 12 months ago.

That does not mean that this performance will not ring some alarms with Dyche who may well look to make changes when West Ham come to town in the final game before the latest international break on Saturday.

One of those could be Charlie Taylor, introduced at half-time in place of Erik Pieters who was the victim of the Clarets’ concerning first-half defensive performance, in which a double from John Lundstram and a goal from John Fleck left the result in little doubt.

Chris Wood could also be back from his hamstring problem having come close to a return here, Jay Rodriguez and Ashley Barnes having toiled leading the line at Bramall Lane.

Despite knowing what was coming tactically, Dyche’s men simply had no answer for Chris Wilder's rampant Blades side who are making the jump up to the top flight look rather easy 11 games in, this three points moving them up to sixth.

Their overlapping central defenders and marauding wing backs had a field day, particularly before the break with two goals in two minutes, Lundstram’s second and Fleck’s after a James Tarkowski error, all but settling things.

As good as the Blades were though, the Clarets were poor.

The three goals were all too easy and mean seven have been shipped in the last two games.

Full backs Pieters and Matt Lowton, the latter returning to play at Bramall Lane for the first time since leaving in 2012, were overwhelmed by the home side’s overload down the flanks.

Ben Mee, on a 300th Burnley appearance he will want to forget in a hurry, and James Tarkowski were pulled left and right in a bid to cover the ground and were uncharacteristically poor in possession as the Clarets invited pressure time and again. 

Burnley felt they could have had an early penalty, Rodriguez possibility clipped in the box, and saw a VAR  appeal come to nothing after the ball hit Jack O’Connell’s arm later in the half.

But those two incidents were a mere side note on a day where as well as looking uncharacteristically dishevelled defensively, the visitors created next to nothing in the final third.

They mustered only six shots of note with none on target.

Barnes is going through a lean spell, booked for dissent here, while Dwight McNeil was also hauled off before the hour having looked largely lost on a tough day to be a wide player, especially one still learning his trade.

Now attentions turn to West Ham's trip to Turf Moor, the corresponding fixture on Boxing Day last season having got the Clarets heading back in the right direction.

The situation is not as grave here, this performance catching plenty off guard, but Dyche will hope the ghost of last season past was only making a fleeting appearance.