That’s another point in the bag, but boy did we have to fight for it.
I won’t say the game panned out exactly how I’d predicted beforehand, but I was right when I said we would face a hell of a fight at Burnley and it would be nothing like last season’s 4-0 win there.
As daft as it sounds, probably the biggest factor in Sunday’s game at Turf Moor was that Burnley haven’t won at home in the Premier League since January and when they got themselves in front against us they stopped doing what they’d been doing and went into retreat mode to try and protect their lead to get that home win.
Had they scored much later in the game I think it would have been difficult for us to get something, but after Chris Wood scored on the hour they got deeper and deeper and for the first time in the game they allowed us to play.
Up to Wood’s goal they had done a real job on us and hadn’t allowed us any time or space to play. They’d pressed, they chased everything, and when that fails, they break up play with fouls. It’s the way they play. They don’t have the quality that a lot of sides do, but they do have a work ethic, a togetherness, and a style of play that doesn’t endear them to the purists. They are limited in what they do, but what they do they did well against us. For an hour anyway.
Once they started getting deeper, I think we all felt we could get back in it. Once we had the space to play it gave us the chance to show that we were better than them with the ball. I’ve been in teams like that before when you’re having a bad run and you instinctively try and protect something instead of sticking with what you’ve been doing.
Even when Burnley invited us on they still got their blocks in – Tarkowski and Mee have shown many times that they will throw their bodies and heads in front of everything and anything – but they got more and more desperate and the onus was on us to produce something that could break them.
As I said the other day, you always feel we have a goal in us when Pat is on the pitch and so it proved. He gets in the right places, he finds those pockets, and most importantly he has that nose for goal. His equaliser at Burnley might not be a goal that gets replayed over and over, but it was an excellent strikers goal. He was in the right place at the right time and got the deftest of touches on the ball. That’s why we’ve just given him a new contract, why he’s just got in the England squad, and why he’s so important to Leeds United. He earned us a big point.
Pat goes away with England now and we wish him luck and I’m sure back at Thorp Arch Marcelo will have plenty to ponder on as he looks back on the first three games of the season. The glass-half full type will say we could easily be pointless still, but I don’t see it like that. We’ve lost one in three, have a couple of points on the board, and are off the mark. Yes, there’s plenty to work on, but there’s also plenty to look forward to.
Roll on Liverpool at a full Elland Road in a fortnight. I can’t wait.