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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Ward: We're battling with 'second-season syndrome'

Stephen Ward Photo: Reuters
Stephen Ward Photo: Reuters

Stephen Ward admits that his Burnley side are having to work harder this season as teams have discovered a way to play against the Clarets.

Burnley take on Newcaste United at Turf Moor tonight, knowing that a win would push them up to seventh place in the table, but Ward knows that it's been difficult for the side to repeat their superb home form of last season with an "indifferent" record on their home patch.

"I suppose they look at that second-season syndrome and teams maybe try and work you out a little bit more," says Ward ahead of Newcastle's visit.

"That can be with people coming and setting up differently maybe to the way they did last year.

"That's a challenge for us and we need to find different ways to win games and different ways to break teams down.

"We have worked a lot on that in pre-season and throughout the season so far.

"We've been a bit disappointed with a couple of the games. But one of the gaffer's mantras when we speak after the game is that sometimes if you can't win, it's important not to lose.

"Although performances haven't been what we would have liked them to have been at home, we have had to stick in there and make sure we take something from the game, which is important in this league because every point is so vital," added Ward, an ever-present for the Clarets this season.

"Coming back to Turf Moor it's important we put on a performance and hopefully put some points on the board," he says.

"I wouldn't say our home form, but our home performances, have been a little bit indifferent and a little bit below the standards we like to set ourselves.

"At this stage last season, we'd one defeat at home and we've got the same again now. People are talking about the home form, but we've still picked up a decent points' return.

"It's just I think maybe our performances haven't been the same as they were last year."

Meanwhile, Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez has told his players to aim high.

"When I tell the players we want to be more ambitious, it is not that we have to be in the top four, or in Europe, or whatever," he said.

"It is just to approach every game with the feeling we can improve a little bit."

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