CLARETS boss Eddie Howe wants his players to do their talking on the pitch and prove the doubters wrong.
After a second successive defeat at Barnsley on Tuesday night, there were the first real signs of dissent among supporters in the stands.
And while Howe understands the fans’ frustrations, he believes in his players and hopes a positive performance and result at Coventry tomorrow will go some way to dispelling any fears among the Burnley faithful.
Howe said: “I’m looking for a positive reaction. We don’t want any hangover to what was a disappointing night at Barnsley.
“We want to go out and prove we are a good side and can produce consistent performances.
“When you have bad results, it gives you that determination and desire to prove people wrong, and to prove that you can be successful in the league you’re competing in.
“Nothing ever worth achieving comes easy.
“It’s a long season, and we’ve got to knuckle down and work hard and do our talking on the pitch.”
Howe’s resources may be limited, but he backs the squad he has available to bounce back – as they did a month ago, going on a four-game unbeaten run on the back of two defeats immediately following an international break.
He said: “The players we have here are really good professionals. They’re all team players.
“I have no problem with any individual. Everyone understands that it’s a long season, we’ve got a lot of games coming up and everyone will get their chance to stake a claim.
“Hopefully when they get that, they take it like previous weeks.
“Players have done that and stayed in the side. You need a competitive squad, and you need players fighting for places, and that’s what we have.
“We’d like a few more fighting for places in terms of bodies because I think that’s healthy competition.”
Howe has only made three substitutions in the past two games, but he underlined he has every faith in those not in the starting line-up to make an impact, with Zavon Hines,
Keith Treacy, Ben Mee and Dean Marney all capable of contributing.
He said: “There hasn’t been a problem with their attitude, but you don’t want to make changes for the sake of making changes, you want to make changes that you think will benefit the team.
“It’s not a criticism of the squad, it’s just that we are light on numbers and depth.
“People can say you want changes, but they’ve got to strengthen the side, that’s the key part.”
Strike pair Jay Rodriguez and Charlie Austin have had precious little competition for their places so far this term, with Martin Paterson and Danny Ings still out for another couple of months or so, and Howe feels they will click again.
He said: “When you’ve got players like Charlie and Jay, you’re waiting for them to fire again as they’ve already done it this year.
“Against Nottingham Forest, they looked deadly and looked like the partnership was improving all the time, then unfortunately we’ve just had a bit of a low spell.
“It’s important we stick with them. They’re both young players, both great professionals and eager to improve and to learn and they’ll only get better the more time they play together.
“I think that’s important, but also you do have the people pushing behind which is so important too.”
Meanwhile, Howe remains keen to bolster his squad, but is finding it difficult.
He said: “I think there would be money available. I don’t think there would be a huge amount but there would be some money around.
“It’s a case of finding the players at this stage. That’s the difficulty as a lot of clubs want to keep their players around.
“And it’s very difficult to get the best young players in the Premier League out.
“For various reasons it becomes difficult, and you’re juggling to see if you can get the right faces in and the right characters as well.
“After January, it will be a lot easier in terms of loans, because sides are out of Europe or the Carling Cup etc, so it’s easier to get the players then.”
Asked whether non-contract players are an option, he added: “We’ll look at it and take every individual player on its own merits, but there’s a lot of quality out there on a non-contract basis.”