Gray clouds lift at Turf Moor
SEAN Dyche believes Burnley’s victory against Brentford banished the nerves starting to gather at Turf Moor.
Michael Keane’s first-half header earned the Clarets their opening win of the season, after Tom Heaton had earlier pulled off a string of saves to keep Brentford at bay.
And with record signing Andre Gray’s transfer from Brentford now sealed, and the first victory in the bag, Dyche believes the re-building project at relegated Burnley is on course.
“I think we deserved the win in the end,” Dyche said.“There were some nerves around first half and we understand why – everyone wanted that first win and it was important to get it.
“The players are affected by the questions – can we rebuild after getting relegated? But there was a good mixture of grind and good play and overall there’s more to come. I’m 100 per cent sure on that.
“People forget we’re five big players down on last season. We have to re-mould the team.
“Andre Gray will bring something different, I think. There’s no guarantee, of course, but he’s very hungry for success.
“I said we want to be productive in the market and we’re still out there if the right move comes along.”
Brentford had started the brightest and Akaki Gogia’s quick feet won a free-kick on the edge of the box on 16 minutes – Heaton parrying Alan Judge’s effort clear.
Burnley captain Heaton was called into action again moments later, this time taking two attempts to claim Lasse Vibe’s low strike after the winger’s clever turn in the box. Vibe was in again on 22 minutes, racing on to Konstantin Kerschbaumer’s defence-splitting pass, but Heaton stuck out a leg to save his low strike.
Having rode their luck, the hosts took the lead against the run of play, however, as Keane’s backpost header, from David Jones’ corner, snuck in midway through the first half.
That goal invigorated the Clarets, and Scott Arfield had time and space to double the lead on 35 minutes but blazed wildly over when Michael Kightly’s cross was only half-cleared.
Jones then headed David Button’s unconvincing clearance into Arfield’s path on 55 minutes, but the back-pedalling keeper turned his first-time shot wide.
Substitute Sam Vokes and Lukas Jutkiewicz could also have increased their side’s advantage but both shot over.
The Burnley chances kept coming, as Matthew Taylor – on for Kightly – fired a hard, low free-kick wide of the far post, but unlike the visitors, they were not to rue their missed chances, holding on for a first home win in six games.
Brentford boss Marinus Dijkhuizen admitted they missed the firepower of Burnley new boy Gray.
“We played the first-half, in my view, better,” he said. “We had good energy and put pressure on the ball and we created some very good chances.
“But we had to score, and we saw that with the Burnley goal. I think we were a bit unlucky to lose.
“It’s difficult to lose Andre Gray. His goals won a lot of points. But it’s been going on for a couple of weeks and now we can go on and start looking for a replacement.
“Is it a relief? Yes and no. I had a good relationship with him, and we now don’t have a replacement on the bench so we are in need of two new strikers before the transfer window ends.”
BY GEORGE: Konstantin Kerschbaumer loses the ball after George Boyd sticks out a foot