Now is the time! Says Clarke Carlisle
CLARKE Carlisle has urged his Clarets teammates that now is the time to flex their muscles in the Championship.
Burnley lie a disappointing ninth in the table, a point from the play-off places, but 10 behind the last automatic promotion slot.
Only unbeaten leaders QPR have lost fewer games, but the Clarets have lost ground after drawing in seven of their last 10 outings.
Carlisle is encouraged by the performances the team are putting in, and feels the time has come to kick on and turn those displays into wins, starting at home to his former club Watford tomorrow: “If we’d have won the game on Tuesday against Doncaster we’d have been sitting in fourth place before Wednesday’s fixtures. It’s that close.
“As long as we’re not losing three or four games in a row and we know we’re putting the performances in that warrant results, we will be encouraged.
“Now is the time to start turning those performances into three points.
“Even though we’re dropping points, everybody is. You see how tight the division is.
“We’re only nine points off the relegation zone but a point off the play-offs, and equally 10 off the automatic slot.
“It’s so tight. Especially in these winter months when matches come Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday and your squad is tested right to the nth degree.
“You’re always in with a chance.
“We know that just putting in a consistent run of results.
“I’ve always said before now that performances will bring results and our performances have been very good. Now we need to start converting them into three points, not just one.”
Burnley have drawn their last four games, including what, on paper, were great results at QPR and Norwich.
But the manner of those draws, with the side failing to press home their advantage and take their chances at key times, have made them feel like defeats, and Carlisle admitted: “When you think about the sequence of results we’ve had, we’ve had a lot of draws and on each occasion the atmosphere in the changing room afterwards is as though we’ve got beat.
“It’s definitely a feeling of points dropped. But it’s encouraging that we have a squad of such quality that draws away at Norwich and in any home game aren’t enough. We believe we should be doing better and performances have shown we should be doing better.
“It’s also encouraging that we’ve dropped points in several games but we’re still right on the fringes of the battle, and to know that if we had picked up points there we’d have been sitting comfortably in third or fourth over the coming winter months.
“The positives we take out of it, because we always look for those, are that the team’s playing well, playing well enough to win games, we created at least half a dozen excellent opportunities in the first half against Doncaster and three or four in the second – one of which fell to myself and I lost about four hours sleep running it through on Tuesday night.
“But we know that if we continue to beat the door down we will score goals and we will get results.”
Carlisle knows the manager of tomorrow’s opponents well - Malky Mackay was his centre back partner at Watford, and he isn’t surprised the rugged Scot is doing well in the Vicarage Road hot-seat: “Malky’s doing a fantastic job there.
“I played alongside him in my first season at Watford - there was Malky, myself and Jay DeMerit rotating at centre half.
“He’s doing an outstanding job in his first managerial role.
“I’d say it was a surprise to me that he got the job initially, because obviously to get your first managerial position at a club that had just recently come out of the Premier League is no mean feat, but he’s fully justified his selection. He’s created a team that’s playing some very, very good football, full of young players.”