Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ben Mee: Reaching 20 points is 'big marker' for Burnley

Ben Mee helped Burnley move six points clear of the relegation zone
Ben Mee helped Burnley move six points clear of the relegation zone

Burnley defender Ben Mee thinks the Clarets have reached a significant landmark by accumulating 20 points before the turn of the year.

Sean Dyche's side defeated Middlesbrough 1-0 on Boxing Day as Andre Gray's 80th-minute volley earned them a sixth success of the season at Turf Moor.

It lifted them above Boro and on to 20 points, halfway to the 40-point total which is often considered the benchmark for survival, after 18 fixtures.

During their previous top-flight stint two years ago, Burnley did not attain that amount of points until mid-January and they were unable to add more until February, so Mee can appreciate they are currently on course for survival this time around.

"It's a big marker to reach that 20-point mark," the defender told Burnley's official website after the win.

"We would like to be better away from home and if we are we are going to climb that table pretty well."

Dyche's team will be back at Turf Moor on New Year's Eve to face Boro's 18th-placed north east rivals Sunderland, whom they currently have a six-point advantage over.

They will be without midfielder Jeff Hendrick for that contest, though, as he earned his fifth caution of the season by being one of 11 players booked by referee Craig Pawson.

The official has come under fire recently following the contentious calls he made against Marcos Rojo and Jamie Vardy, and though Pawson's willingness to brandish the card so frequently robbed Dyche of Hendrick, the Burnley boss expressed some sympathy for the man in the middle of his team's clash with Boro.

"It was not that type of game, actually, but we all know the modern game," he said.

"It's hard for the referees because players are going down everywhere. What do you do?

"That's where it is tough - free-kicks get given, bookings come. I don't think any of you thought it was that type of game."

Gray's strike had decided a tight encounter between two teams that had been separated by only four points in last year's Championship.

Boro boss Aitor Karanka insisted he did not need to carry out a lengthy post-mortem on proceedings at Turf Moor and he will instead turn his focus to a trip to Old Trafford this Saturday.

"It's the Premier League, we don't have time to rest and I'm thinking about the following game," Karanka said.

"It's not a game where you have a lot of things to analyse - we knew they play long balls and we conceded one goal playing one ball like that."

PA Media

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