Dean vows to buy after ‘rubbish’ Villa show
TALK about shooting yourself in the foot when precious points mean life or death in the Premier League.
Burnley did not have one effort on target during 90plus minutes of this basement battle – but still came away winners to climb nervously and narrowly away from the danger zone.
Two own-goals from Joe Bryan and Denis Odoi put Sean Dyche’s men on track for victory after Andre Schurrle had opened the scoring with a scorcher to give Fulham an early lead at a ground where their last top-flight success was back in 1951.
But Burnley could not believe their luck as they recorded their third successive league win.
They remain unbeaten in their last 30 home matches against Fulham in all competitions.
That will make bleak reading this morning for Cottagers boss Claudio Ranieri who still believes that – despite this painful defeat – he will not be relegated.
Ranieri, whose strugglers are the only side yet to claim an away win this season, said: “We scored very, very early. A great goal. But in 10 minutes they scored twice with two own-goals.
“This experience is very strange. What can we do? They do not touch the goal but touch my players. That’s it. It’s a bad moment.
“But we never give up. We continue to believe that at the end we will be safe.”
Burnley boss Dyche said: “I was very pleased overall. Three wins in the Premier League is good for the mentality, good for the points and good for the table.
“It’s strange we didn’t have a shot on target but you have got to find a way to win.
“I think that’s the pleasing thing, to win games that are really tight.
“We’re getting back to form. It’s another big step forward but we can still be better than that.
“I can understand Claudio’s frustrations but I don’t think they asked that many questions. We stayed calm and grew into the game.”
You would have been hard-pressed to predict a first 45 minutes of action and goals when this fixture cropped up.
Two struggling teams is not usually the recipe for a footballing highlight.
But how wrong the doubters were with three goals and near-misses to warm a crowd witnessing gale-force action on the pitch and in the skies.
Barely two minutes were on the clock when the Cottagers shocked Turf Moor by taking a truly sensational lead.
Odoi played the ball into the box, Schurrle controlled brilliantly and volleyed into the top corner.
Burnley – with defender Ben Mee outstanding – hit back with a Phil Bardsley delivery which Chris Wood headed on to the upright with keeper Sergio Rico well-beaten. But in the 20th minute the Clarets grabbed the equaliser when Jeff Hendrick fired in a shot and the ball was deflected in by Bryan.
And, amazingly, Burnley stormed into the lead just two minutes later.
This time Hendrick’s cross was diverted home by Odoi’s head for the second own-goal of the game.
Ranieri just stood and looked on. He seemed bewildered by what he had just witnessed.
But the smile should have been put back on his face by two sharp counter-attacks. First, Calum Chambers hit the bar with a powerful header and then Ryan Sessegnon missed from close range when you expected better from a player of his ability.
Six minutes after the break, Fulham surely should have been level. Sub Luciano Vietto – who was brought on at the break – blasted for goal but James Tarkowski cleared brilliantly off the line to impress watching England manager Gareth Southgate.
And lively Vietto thought he had equalised once more for Ranieri’s men with a fierce drive but it was commfortably saved by Tom Heaton as Burnley’s commitment and drive faded alarmingly. MANAGER Dean Smith branded his Villa side’s defeat as his worst as a manager.
Second-half goals from Michael Jacobs and Joe Garner, added to Gary Roberts’ first-half strike, ended Wigan’s run of eight games without a win and heaped misery on Villa fans.
One league win in seven leaves Smith’s side with a mountain to climb if they are to stand a chance of promotion and he vowed to use the transfer market to shake things up.
“That performance was rubbish,” he said. “That is the bottom of my career in management.
“It is my job to make sure it never happens again.
“The window has always been there for us to bring more players in and I expect to do so.”
Anthony Pilkington, who joined on an 18-month loan deal from Premier League strugglers Cardiff, added some much needed urgency and power to Wigan’s attack.
But Smith’s side should have been a goal up after 10 minutes, however Tammy Abraham blazed wide.
That was as good as it got for the hapless visitors who fell behind to Roberts’ goal five minutes before the break.
Garner’s header was saved by Croatia keeper Lovre Kalinic on his league debut after his big-money move from Belgian side Gent.
But Villa failed to clear the danger and Pilkington set up Roberts to drill home his second of the season.
Villa boss Smith made a triple substitution just after the hour.
But it was a Wigan sub that put the game beyond any doubt – Jacobs adding a second with a magnificent diving header.
Garner netted a third from the spot after Glenn Whelan tangled with Josh Windass to seal Wigan’s first home win since November.
Latics boss Paul Cook said: “From that performance you would not think that we were the team in trouble.
“There were many great performances out there today and all the credit has to go to the lads because they have stuck together over the last few weeks.
I am so pleased for the lads.”
ON THE SPOT: Joe Garner