Burnley manager Sean Dyche said they “need players” after Danny Ings’ early goal earned Southampton a first top-flight victory at Turf Moor for almost 50 years and ended the visitors’ losing start to the season.
Former Clarets forward Ings struck in the fifth minute, supplied by Che Adams’s cutback following an excellent through ball by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Injury-hit Burnley, without seven senior players, had claims for a penalty dismissed by referee Andre Marriner – and the video assistant referee – midway through the first half after striker Chris Wood went down under pressure from Jan Bednarek.
Wood went close to an equaliser immediately after half-time but Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was equal to his low header from Ashley Westwood’s cross.
McCarthy was again called upon to stop Charlie Taylor’s powerful first-time strike from the edge of the penalty area as the hosts – who remain without a point from two games – pressed for a leveller.
Southampton failed to register a shot on target following Ings’ early goal but held firm in response to conceding five at Tottenham last weekend as they sealed a first win at Burnley in the top flight since March 1971.
“The chairman knows what is required. Action. We need players. It is a challenge though, here, it always has been,” Dyche told Sky Sports.
“We have two experienced defenders on the bench and that is it. We are reliant on what we have. It is a challenge but we will have players back fit.”
Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: “We have been very unfortunate with injuries. We are stretched. The players are giving me everything. I’ve mentioned it for a number of months now – it’s down to the chairman and the board to make those decisions.”
Ings proves decisive once again
Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side largely answered his pre-match calls to prove they were better than their opening results and performances had suggested, producing the gritty display necessary to take the points at Turf Moor.
Southampton lost both league games to Burnley last season – including a 3-0 loss in Lancashire – but they offered a resolute response to Sunday’s concerning 5-2 defeat by Tottenham.
Once again it was Ings who made the difference for Saints, though it was summer signing Walker-Peters who stepped up from right-back to produce the defence-splitting pass which allowed Adams to tee up his strike partner.
England forward Ings, fresh from finishing as joint-second top goalscorer in the Premier League last season, has now scored 46% (25) of Southampton’s past 54 goals in the competition and looks ready to mount another Golden Boot challenge.
With no other Saints player scoring more than five in that time, he will be required to if they are to improve on last season’s 11th-place finish.
However, following the heavy defeat by Spurs – which featured a worrying second-half collapse – just as pleasing for Hasenhuttl will surely be the enduring focus and desire to see out a clean sheet on Saturday, despite coming under late pressure.
Jannik Vestergaard came into the defence to partner Bednarek at the expense of Jack Stephens and the pair settled in well, producing 13 clearances apiece in front of McCarthy, who himself delivered when called upon.
“It wasn’t a good start to the season but we have focused our work this week on the defence and it was fantastic to see how much they had invested today,” said Saints manager Hasenhuttl.
He added: “In the end we had a very important win for us. We had a non-existent pre-season, we couldn’t prepare for the first game and we have had no chance to work on anything before this week. Suddenly it looks different, more organised – this is the key to winning.”
Burnley’s threadbare squad stretched to its limit
The challenge facing the Clarets boss at the start of this season was visible for all to see at Turf Moor – with Dyche himself perhaps hoping to emphasise a point of his own.
On his 400th game as a manager – his 351st at Burnley – Dyche chose to make no substitutions as his side sought a route back into the contest.
With key figures in captain Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Ashley Barnes, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jack Cork, Robbie Brady and, most recently, Jay Rodriguez sidelined, Dyche named four players on his bench aged 21 or under and yet to play a Premier League game.
Dyche has rightly been lauded for his ability to deliver with a modestly assembled Clarets squad – delivering a second top-10 finish in five Premier League seasons in 2019-20 – but an already threadbare squad is operating at its limit.
The hosts were bolstered by the arrival of midfielder Dale Stephens from Brighton on Thursday and, out of necessity above all else, he was thrust into the Clarets’ midfield for his debut on Saturday.
On his 100th Premier League appearance, Stephens demonstrated why Dyche wanted to add him to his ranks, as the 31-year-old made more tackles than any other player.
It was Wood who led the hosts’ attempts to claw back level but, after seeing his header well saved by McCarthy, he was flagged for offside before rounding the Saints goalkeeper as he missed out on becoming the first Clarets player to score in five successive top-flight games since Willie Irvine in 1966.
Dyche reiterated his message to the board through his absence of changes late on and, with little over a week of the transfer window remaining, he will be desperate to add further reinforcements.
Burnley’s worst start since they were relegated – the stats
- Southampton’s victory ended a six-match winless streak at Turf Moor.
- Saints striker Ings has scored 10 goals in 12 Premier League appearances since football restarted in June after the coronavirus shutdown.
- Meanwhile, Adams has been directly involved in four goals in his past five league games for Southampton – one more than in his first 28 combined.
- Burnley have lost their first two matches in a top-flight season for the first time since 2014-15, when they were relegated.
- The Clarets have lost three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since a run of four ending in January earlier this year.
Burnley host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday (19:30 BST) before travelling to Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday (20:00).
Southampton welcome West Brom to St Mary’s in the league on Sunday (12:00).
- 26BardsleyBooked at 48mins
- 12DjenepoSubstituted forTellaat 77′minutes
- 10AdamsSubstituted forObafemiat 77′minutes
Match ends, Burnley 0, Southampton 1.
Second Half ends, Burnley 0, Southampton 1.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Oriol Romeu.
Attempt blocked. Dale Stephens (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Offside, Southampton. Stuart Armstrong tries a through ball, but Danny Ings is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Stuart Armstrong (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Kyle Walker-Peters.
Foul by Ashley Westwood (Burnley).
Michael Obafemi (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dale Stephens (Burnley).
Alex McCarthy (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by James Ward-Prowse.
Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).
Ashley Westwood (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Southampton. Nathan Tella replaces Moussa Djenepo.
Substitution, Southampton. Michael Obafemi replaces Che Adams.
Phil Bardsley (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Moussa Djenepo (Southampton).
Attempt missed. Matej Vydra (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Ashley Westwood.
Foul by Dale Stephens (Burnley).
Danny Ings (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.