Burnley well below par - Dyche

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche accepted his side fell well below their recent standards as their eight-game unbeaten run came to an end at Newcastle United.

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But he wasn't over-critical of his players, who have turned their season around with their fine form since Boxing Day.

The Clarets were looking to match their best unbeaten sequence in the top flight since 1966, but came undone at St James' Park as they fell to first half goals from Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff.

Burnley had chances through Chris Wood and James Tarkowski, but couldn't hit the heights of Saturday's win over Spurs at Turf Moor.

And Dyche said: "We were a long way off, particularly first half - bit better second half, but first half a long way off.

"Sometimes that can happen, credit to Newcastle, as well, they were better first half, they were sharper, their anticipation was better.

"We know the format and style they want to play, and they delivered that better tan we did.

"We were way off our mark first half, and they scored a worldy to calm the game down, and I thought it was a foul on Corky in the build up for the second, yet, strangely, we had a really good finish from Woody and the keeper makes a save, and we had the chance of the game with Tarky, who goes for the big finish and probably needs to be calmer, and slot it, which isn't always easy to do, of course.

"We could have had it tighter at half-time.

"Second half, I was pleased with the effect we had on the team because there was a better energy, and demand, without being great - but we asked more questions, we caused a few more problems and got them on the back foot more.

"We were more like we've been playing, with more energy, so a mixed bag, but they deserved to win, their performance was better than ours overall.

"But I'm not going to start criticising a group who have been unbeaten in eight games and had some massive performances and big results, so I won't be over-critical.

"It's probably a reminder that if you do come off just slightly, then you don't get anything."

Ashley Westwood has been pivotal to Burnley's recent revival, but fell ill in the afternoon and was sent home.

And the former Aston Villa man was missed: "I think Westy and Corky have had a tremendous little run together, and the way they've connected, but unfortunately he went down with sickness this afternoon, so we had to get him a car back because we didn't want it going through the camp."

Dwight McNeil had started all eight games in the unbeaten run, but came off at half-time, and Dyche explained: "Dwight was a tough one, he's been fantastic, and we did wonder 'can you get that next one out of him?', but he was good Saturday and just found it tough tonight. "