CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has not given up on a play-off place.
And he hopes to take a step in the right direction with a win over automatic promotion hopefuls Swansea City at Turf Moor tomorrow.
Burnley are without a win in six games now, having lost five in that time – conversely, after five wins in six took them to the brink of the play-off chase.
Even after taking one point from 18, sixth-place Leeds only have a seven-point advantage over the Clarets, who host Middlesbrough in their game in hand on Tuesday night.
And Howe, buoyed by the performance, even in defeat, at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night – where his side were down to 10 men for an hour after Marvin Bartley was harshly dismissed – said: “We won’t give up on it, although it does become a lot more difficult.
“But I’m pleased with the performance at Forest – it was a step in the right direction, and hopefully we can take that forward.
“We’re well aware of how quickly it can turn. We want to start with a win against Swansea, and see where it takes us.
“I think we showed a bit of passion and showed we care at Forest.
“I said after the last game (at Leicester) that’s what the Burnley supporters want to see, and I felt the players put a terrific shift in.
“Ultimately, it wasn’t our night, but if we can repeat that type of performance and endeavour, we will win a lot of games.
“We showed signs of a recovery, and I hope that continues as the games come thick and fast.”
Howe will be without Bartley for three games after deciding not to contest the red card, issued by Jon Moss for a challenge on Forest centre-back Luke Chambers.
Video footage was not conclusive, although most observers feel Moss got the decision wrong, pressured by the angry reaction of Forest’s players and management.
Howe said: “We didn’t appeal the sending-off.
“It was very difficult to see the tackle on the DVD with the angle of shot.
“It didn’t clear Marvin, but it was a poor decision.”
And he backed up his player: “That’s the type of player Marv is, he’s very athletic, a ball-winner who will contest and win 50/50s and second balls.
“That’s what we ask him to do, and if he’s going to get sent off for that, I’m going to have to tell him not to make a tackle.
“But the reaction of the Forest players disappointed me, as I didn’t feel it was reckless or dangerous, with studs showing, or career-threatening, anything like that.
“The reaction was over the top and almost made the referee’s mind up.”
It may have been a fourth successive defeat, but Howe felt the performance at least stopped the rot: “I think so, especially with 11 men, we were excellent, we controlled the game, passed the ball very well, and I felt we were well in control.
“If we had kept 11 on the pitch, you would like to think we would have eventually worn Forest down.
“You don’t know what would have happened with 11 men, but what pleased me was the work ethic of the players, they all put a shift in, especially with 10 - they were all dead on their feet in the dressing room.
“Full credit to them, because I did question them after the Leicester game, how much pride there was at stake.
“To get that reaction was pleasing.
“Also, technically, with the ball I felt they were excellent in the first half, and even with 10 men, up until half-time, we controlled the game.
“We had a couple of chances as well, and if Chris Eagles’ shot goes in, it might have been a different game, but it wasn’t to be despite a much better performance.
“Big Chris had a chance as well. We weren’t going to make many with 10, and Dean Marney had a shot as well. We just needed to take one.”
The most pleasing aspect was Jack Cork’s return after a health scare, and Howe was delighted: “I thought Jack was excellent. He hadn’t trained for two weeks but came in and was terrific. The first time we saw him was on Monday, so we’re pleased with him, and a number of the other players as well - I’m pleased with all of them.”
Jay Rodriguez and Andre Bikey should also be available after knocks: “Jay had a problem with his hip flexor, he struggled through at Leicester, but hopefully it’s nothing long term and we’ll get him back quickly.
“And Andre’s ok, he had a little bit of a back problem, but he’s gradually getting up to fitness and up to speed. It was always going to take a little time, but he’s coming along quite well.”