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Friday 15 December 2017

Ward goal caps fine opener for Clarets' Irish

Stephen Ward celebrates
Stephen Ward celebrates

Burnley's Irish full-back Stephen Ward put in an early entry for goal of the month in Saturday's shock 3-2 Premier League win at champions Chelsea.

The Dubliner's 39th minute wonder strike put the Clarets two-nil up and despite taking a 3-0 half-time lead, Sean Dyche's men had to withstand a late rally to claim a 3-2 win.

Four Irish internationals finished the game for Burnley with Jon Walters, joining Ward, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick in the 75th minute.

Brady, in fact, nearly made it 4-2 in the dying minutes with a sweetly-struck free-kick which thundered back off the Chelsea upright with Thibaut Courtois beaten all ends up.

Burnley boss Dyche, however, called for perspective when reflecting on a famous win.

Last season, Burnley failed to record an away victory in the league until late April, relying heavily on their Turf Moor form to stay above the relegation zone.

Dyche is still expecting a challenging campaign this time, despite the stunning start.

"It gets us a win and an away win, so it kills all of that off, but we're not getting carried away. It's a great result that was brilliant for us and our supporters," Dyche said.

"But it's one result and the season is right in front of us. Everyone is telling us this season will be a big challenge for us.

Difficult

"Now we need to see if we can move it forward a bit again. It's very difficult for this club to make massive strides, so it's about just shifting it forward. This win won't do us any harm at all, but there are a lot of big games coming so it's important we remind ourselves of that."

Meanwhile, Chelsea star Antonio Rudiger insists his team-mates must respond quickly to their collapse and be ready for next Sunday's clash with possible title rivals Tottenham.

Rudiger, Chelsea's £29million summer signing from Roma who was making his Premier League debut, admits the team dealt poorly with the setback of losing Cahill.

"If you have a red card early in the game it's a shock moment for everyone but we are all professionals and we need to do better in those kind of situations," the Germany full-back said.

"We conceded three goals too easily. We tried our best but at the end of the day football is about results and we lost."

Apart from Chelsea's spirited fightback, the only other positive to emerge from a poor start to their title defence was Morata's contribution off the bench.

The Spaniard, a £58m signing from Real Madrid, scored one and had a second goal disallowed and was a thorn in Burnley's side for the entire 31 minutes he was on the pitch.

"He helped us a lot and scored one goal and he played a really good game. This is really good news for us," said Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

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