Tough one to take for skipper Tom Heaton as Burnley lose out by finest of margins against Manchester City

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 19:   Tom Heaton of England speaks to the media during an England press conference during an England Media Access day at St Georges Park on March 19, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - MARCH 19: Tom Heaton of England speaks to the media during an England press conference during an England Media Access day at St Georges Park on March 19, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Share this article

Burnley skipper Tom Heaton said that defeat to Manchester City was a tough one to take, particularly when it was such fine margins that decided the outcome.

Sergio Aguero’s 20th goal of the campaign, which moved the Argentinian one behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the battle for the Golden Boot, proved decisive at Turf Moor, despite Matt Lowton’s best attempts to clear the ball off the line.

Heaton got a hand to Aguero’s strike in the 63rd minute and it looked as though referee Paul Tierney would allow play to continue, until goal-line technology intervened.

The match official pointed to the centre spot following confirmation that the ball had crossed the line by 29.5mm.

“I thought we’d done enough to be honest,” he said. “I think, in real time, I’m not convinced he’d have given it, but that’s what the technology is there for.

“If it’s gone over then it’s gone over. It’s not by a big margin. It’s just unfortunate really when you play City and you play really well. It’s difficult to take when a goal like that goes against you.

“Obviously, it had big importance for them. For us it was about getting the result. We wanted to dent them and put in a performance to do that.

“I thought the lads defended really well and we made it difficult for them at the end. So, yes, we’ve come out the wrong side of it, but we gave it a real go.”

The result turned the tide back in City’s favour in the Premier League title race, pushing them a point clear of the Reds with just two games remaining.

The Clarets played their part on Sunday afternoon, forcing the defending champions to work hard for the three points, and now Heaton is intrigued to see how everything unfolds.

“It’s incredible, they’re obviously neck and neck,” Heaton said. “They’re two top, top sides – two of the best sides in the world. I’ve enjoyed taking them on today.

“I enjoyed it a few weeks ago against Liverpool. As I said, two of the top sides in the world. You pit yourselves against them and unfortunately, we’ve come out with two defeats. It’s certainly going to be a good run in, difficult to call.

“It’s tough. It’s a shame they’re both playing so well in the same year, really. They both sort of deserve it in some respect. It’ll be interesting and I’ll be watching the final two games.”

Burnley have been accused of playing “anti-football” recently but it was the visitors who finished the game with six defenders on the pitch at the weekend.

While Pep Guardiola added John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi to his XI, with Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte, Kyle Walker and Olexandr Zinchenko already on the pitch, Sean Dyche introduced Matej Vydra and Johann Berg Gudmundsson in a bid to throw a spanner in the works for City.

Heaton said: “I think it’s probably a testament to how we’d played the game and how we performed. We stood strong and defended really well and caused them problems.

“We play slightly differently to most teams in the Premier League, which caused them a different problem.

“Yes, I think there were six defenders on the pitch. I think they were delighted when the game finished. We probably can take a little bit of pleasure from that, but unfortunately we’ve still come out the wrong side of it.”