BURNLEY won’t be going to West Ham and parking the bus on Saturday – it’s just not in their nature.
But Clarets boss Eddie Howe is eager to build on a first home clean sheet – and only second of the season in total – in Tuesday’s 4-0 win against Ipswich Town.
Bristol City recently went to Upton Park and frustrated the title hopefuls in a goalless draw, while Blackpool went and tried to play football from the back and were summarily beaten 4-0.
Sam Allardyce has typically made the Hammers more pragmatic, and typically got results, but Howe won’t go and shut up shop.
He said: “We find it difficult I think with the players we’ve got to play that way.
“We have tried to tighten up in certain games and be hard to beat, especially with our defensive record, but it doesn’t really sit well with the players we have – especially attacking players.
“We want to try to get the best out of every individual in the team.
“We have found that difficult. We are getting better. Going the other way some of our attacking play on Tuesday was excellent.
“We’re still looking like we’re going to create and score goals at any time. That’s a really pleasing aspect.
“But when you go to West Ham, you now you’ve got to defend well, especially from set-plays but also in general play.
“That’s going to be a really big test for us defensively.
“We do feel like we’ve improved in the last few games in that respect, so it will be a good gauge to see how far our defence has come.”
It’s a test of how far the team has come as well, on the back of successive wins, which have eased worries of an impending scrap at the bottom, and raised hopes of pushing on towards the top half and beyond.
And Howe said: “It’s going to be one of our most difficult games of the season,
“We went there last year and it was a tough game.
“The scoreline looked like a bit of a hammering, but I thought we were well in it at times and could have scored a couple more ourselves.
“We know it’s going to be difficult. We know they’re a good side and very really well organised and well drilled and a big threat from set plays, as everyone knows.
“We’re going to have to be at our best to get anything.
“I think we’re definitely underdogs for this game, and I think from a West Ham perspective they will see it as a good chance to get three points, but that can work in our favour.
“We believe in ourselves and what we’re trying to do, and I have to say I believe in the players we’ve got that we can go there and get a result.”