Laws looks to unpredictability

Having been widely tipped for relegation, the Clarets caught many

people by surprise at the start of the season, winning their first

four homes games in the top flight – including triumphs over

Manchester United and Everton – and retaining a healthy mid-table

position through to the end of November. However, things have been

more of a struggle since then and the club go into Saturday’s

fixture against West Ham at Turf Moor in 19th place having failed

to pick up a win for 12 league matches. Laws, who succeeded Owen

Coyle as manager in January, believes much of Burnley’s early

season success was down to the element of unpredictability they

brought to the table following their promotion from the

Championship. That novelty has inevitably worn off, but after

recruiting five new players in the transfer window, Laws believes

he has spruced things up sufficiently for Burnley to start catching

teams unawares again. “You talk about the first part of the season

in the Premier League and they got away with a lot because they

were an unknown quantity in the division,” said Laws, who has

brought Frederic Nimani, Leon Cort, Nicky Weaver, Danny Fox and

Jack Cork to the club over the last few weeks, as well as extending

David Nugent’s loan to the end of the season. “But the second half

of the season is always the toughest because the opposition know

more about you. “They know your weaknesses and hopefully we’ve

filled in those weaknesses and given them something else to worry

about.” With West Ham currently 15th but only a point better off

than Burnley, tomorrow’s encounter is vital for both clubs in the

fight for survival. The reverse fixture at Upton Park earlier in

the season saw the Clarets go 5-0 down before rallying with three

goals of their own, but with the Hammers having drawn their last

three games and kept two clean sheets, Laws is expecting a tighter

match at Turf Moor. “I looked at the DVD of the last game and it

was played very open, both clubs played very open football and

hence the score 5-3,” said Laws. “But things have changed around

and over the last few games in particular, West Ham have tightened

up a wee bit and not been as open as they have been. “I don’t know

how they are going to look at this game, but I think from the

outside looking in, I’d say West Ham will be coming here not to get

beat. “But we know what’s at stake. If we beat West Ham, we are out

of the bottom three for sure and that will give everybody a lift.

“Three points are precious in this division. Now the transfer

window has shut, hopefully we can kick on now and start producing

the football to get us the wins because we desperately need one.”

Burnley were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in their last outing but matched

the league leaders for large periods of the game, and Laws is

hoping for a similar level of performance from his players tomorrow

as they look to build some momentum and move up the table. “That’s

the kind of application and attitude we have to have against every

team we play against, and not just leave it for the best ones,”

Laws said. “West Ham are a side that are struggling at the bottom

end and it’s a winnable game. “That’s how we have got to approach

every game and play it like it is our last game. If you have that

kind of attitude, you will max out all the time. “The players have

to understand that this game means a lot to everybody and

particularly to ourselves to haul us out of that bottom three, give

everybody a lift and (provide) a starting block for us.”