Erik Pieters says Norwich played into Burnley’s hands after their short passing game was ruthlessly exposed by the Clarets at Turf Moor on Saturday. Pieters reckons Burnley got their tactics just right as they harried Norwich into mistakes in their own half on their way to a 2-0 home win that lifts Sean Dyche’s men up to ninth in the Premier League.
It was the perfect response to a flat performance against Brighton seven days earlier and highlighted the often topsy turvy nature of the English top-flight as Norwich had beaten Manchester City, champions for the past two seasons, only a week before.
Chris Wood got his first goals of the season with two fine first-half finishes but it was Dyche’s decision to order his Burnley troops to press Norwich incessantly in that opening period that was the key to the victory.
The Canaries stuck to their principles of playing out from the back even when totally hemmed in by Burnley players hunting the ball in their opponents half and Pieters believes that suited Burnley down to the ground. “The way they play, from the back, helped us,” said the Dutchman, who has made the Clarets’ left-back berth his own since his summer move from Stoke City.
“We pressed them 100 per cent, didn’t give them any time. It helped us going forward and pressing and winning the ball and then scoring the goals as well. “I think it was an advantage for us (Norwich playing out from the back) but when they come out there’s a danger.”
Norwich’s reliance on short passes and a reluctance to hit the ball long to relieve pressure was something Burnley’s tactical brains exploited perfectly.
The Carrow Road side play only 11 per cent of their passes long, with the Clarets producing double that – 22% of their distribution – over longer distances. But Pieters conceded that the game could have gone differently had Norwich been a bit sharper and taken the early chance they created when top scorer Teemu Pukki was denied one-on-one by goalkeeper Nick Pope.
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