Mee anticipating strong reaction after unbeaten run is halted

Mee machine: Defender Ben Mee was back in the Burnley side at QPR in the absence of Stephen Ward

Mee machine: Defender Ben Mee was back in the Burnley side at QPR in the absence of Stephen Ward

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The last Burnley suffered defeat in the Premier League, they had yet to prove they could win at this level.

And having gone four games unbeaten - the Clarets’ longest such run in the top flight for almost 40 years - defender Ben Mee insists the side will respond well to Saturday’s setback at QPR.

The Hoops ended a run of two wins and two defeats at Loftus Road on Saturday, to leapfrog Burnley out of the bottom three.

But Mee - back in the side at the expense of Republic of Ireland international Stephen Ward, who suffered a franctured ankle last Tuesday night against Newcastle United - has seen enough to believe the players will soon be back to winning ways.

Tomorrow’s home game against Southampton represents a tricky afternoon, despite the Saints losing their last three games, but Mee said: “We’ll bounce back.

“We were down after Saturday, but we have a good mentality as a squad and we’ll lift ourselves and get back at it.

“We’re in the Premier League and we’ll go again.”

Burnley believed when the rest of the country were doubting their presence in the Premier League after 10 games without a win, and Mee added: “We’ve had belief from the word go.

“We started to get results, and Saturday was a blip.

“Hopefully we can get back to winning ways and show people what we can do.

“Personally I was disappointed to come out of the side, but I think the lads are growing and believing in themselves, and we’re enjoying it.”

Burnley sit two points above bottom side Leicester City, but two points adrift of safety, with the scrap for survival starting to take shape.

Defeat to QPR was the second loss to a side in the bottom seven, with Burnley unbeaten in their other four games against their relegation rivals, and the former Manchester City man admitted: “It’s going to be a good battle. It’s not the end of the world losing at QPR, and we just look to the next game now.”

Mee takes encouragement from the performance in West London, despite the result, when Sean Dyche’s side were, for the most part, the dominant force, although they were made to pay for a failure to take their chances, as Mee noted: “I think we were the better side, certainly in the first half when we created a few great chances.

“The keeper’s pulled off a worldie save from Boydy (George Boyd).

“We started off the second half slowly and were punished for it - it wasn’t a good second half for us.

“We thought we could run over them and be the fitter team, and we had a couple of chances in the second half.

“If one of those goes in, we’re back in the game.”

Mee mentions Boyd, who was denied a third goal of the season by Rob Green, although his workrate has been prodigious since his deadline day arrival from Hull City.

Mee appreciates the hard work put in by the wideman, whose Prozone statistics show him to be one of the hardest-working players in the Premier League: “Boydy works really hard, you see that with the stats after every game.

“And when a winger does that, it makes your job a bit easier.

“It’s nice to have a winger willing to go up and down.

“He has quality as well.”

Mee started the first eight Premier League games, but was left out for Ward after the 3-1 defeat at Turf Moor against West Ham.

Now back in the side, he intends to show Dyche he can be a dependable performer at this level: “It’s not nice when someone injures themselves, but it was nice to be back in the team.

“I really wanted to win at QPR and show the gaffer what I can do.

“But we’ll go into the next game against Southampton and hopefully pick up a win at home.”