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Sean Dyche puts pressure on shot-shy strikers to boost Burnley goal threat

Burnley v Milton Keynes Dons – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Turf Moor
(Image credit: Tim Goode)

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has told his strikers they need to step up their game.

The Clarets have relied on the goals of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes in recent seasons but the pair have managed just four between them so far this campaign.

Both looked short of form and confidence in Burnley’s FA Cup victory over MK Dons on Saturday, missing a number of very good chances.

Jay Rodriguez, who missed the match through injury, has yet to find the net this campaign while Matej Vydra’s last-gasp equaliser was his third of the season.

Burnley eventually won 4-3 on penalties, and Dyche said afterwards: “I certainly said to the centre-forwards at half-time, ‘look, I put pressure on the defenders to defend so it’s fair I put pressure on you to score a goal because we’re creating proper chances’.

“We’ve created a lot more over the last run of games so there was a bit of pressure second half to take the chances.

“We didn’t but their keeper made two or three fine saves. I don’t mind that if they’re getting in good areas but, on the quality of chances, I’ve got to look at the centre-forwards today and put a bit of pressure on.”

Dyche was happy, though, with the performances of youngsters Josh Benson, Anthony Glennon and Joel Mumbongo, who all came off the bench.

“Josh Benson’s done really well,” said Dyche. “I think he looks more and more at home every time he gets out there. His belief has risen in the way he’s performed. He came on and looked really bright and sharp.

“And Joel, who’s been on the bench a few times, never quite got there, but I just thought he was right, I thought we needed that bit of pace and power up there, which he certainly gave us. I thought he did excellent when he came on.

“He’s got a long way to go but we like what he’s about. He’s got pace and power but he’s got more than that. He’s just got to tidy up his game.”

Dyche is having to manage injuries to Rodriguez, Charlie Taylor, Kevin Long and goalkeeper Nick Pope while a coronavirus outbreak has affected four of his players.

Dyche did not name names but Ashley Westwood, Josh Brownhill and goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell were all notable absentees on Saturday.

If Pope does not recover from a turned ankle in time for Tuesday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United, summer signing Will Norris, who saved two penalties on his debut on Saturday, is set to keep his place.

Dons boss Russell Martin was disappointed with the result but proud of his players after Cameron Jerome’s first-half opener came within seconds of earning them victory.

They have picked up their form in League One and Martin, who was sent to the stands for protesting the length of time added on at the end of the 90 minutes, hopes they can build on the performance.

He said: “Physically we looked very tired, which you expect. We could have done without extra-time, we’ve got a lot of games coming up. We’re already depleted.

“They created very little in extra-time, which shows how well we played. We’ve lost the game on penalties but I’ve told the players we have to use this.”