Pressure Comes From Within: Burns
Dundalk captain Liam Burns says the “pressure comes from within” the dressing room and that the players will continue to “drive each other on” to success, as the club continue to enjoy their best start to a Premier Division season in 19 years. Two wins in the space of five days over Galway United and Bohemians have seen the Lilywhites quickly forget about their first defeat of the season against Sporting Fingal just over a week ago, and Burns is delighted that they have got that loss out of their system so soon.
“I think if you ask any team, as soon as they get beaten they want to put it right straight away,” Burns told dundalkfc.com. “Against Fingal, I thought we deserved a point, and even the win. In the first half-hour, we didn’t create many chances; they created one or two. But in the second half I think we absolutely battered them, and the least we deserved was a point. But that game is forgotten about and we’re on a good run at the minute, and long may it continue. I think if you asked anyone at the start of the season what return they’d like, and they said 18 points, I think a few people would have laughed at them. But we’re putting the pressure on ourselves, the pressure comes from within, and it’s important that we drive each other on. We can’t settle for beating Bohs. We’ve got to keep going.”
Dundalk will aim to do just that when they welcome Bray Wanderers to Oriel Park on Monday night and Burns insists the side cannot become complacent. “It’s another three points up for grabs and we want to continue the good form we’re in,” the defender said. “Everyone will look at the league table and think it’s a banker home win but we can’t think like that. We’ve got to go out with the same attitude we showed against Bohs. There is no easy game in this league. They’re going to be organised and fit, and they’re going to come here to get something. But we’ve got to be man enough to stand up and put in a performance. I think every game is the same. Obviously, people will be looking at us thinking ‘they’ve beaten Bohs, obviously they’re going to beat Bray’, but we can’t think like that. We have to think that we’re playing Bohs every week; that’s the standard we’ve set ourselves and we have to go out and perform.
“Bray are going to come and make it hard for us,” he added, “and maybe keep it tight for as long as they can and get the crowd on our back because we’re expected to win. But we’ve got to be patient. It was fantastic to beat Bohs. Any time you beat Bohs it’s a great result; they have been the benchmark for the league over the last couple of years, and it’s a great win for the whole club – it just gives everyone a lift.” Burns acknowledged that the result was among the best since he came to the club 16 months ago but insisted that it still only brings a three-point gain. “Obviously, it’s up there,” he said, “but at the end of the day a win’s a win. No matter who it’s against, it’s just important to get three points. Just because it’s Bohs doesn’t make it any more special. It keeps us on a good run, but we’ve got an even bigger game on Monday so we mustn’t get carried away with ourselves. It’s important that we recover well and prepare right for the next game.”
Speaking on the current form of Bohs, with whom Burns won the league title in 2008, he refused to write them off despite Pat Fenlon tasting three league defeats on the bounce for the first time since arriving at Dalymount Park over two years ago. “No chance,” the 31-year-old said. “You’re not double league champions for nothing. I’ll say now, if you finish above Bohs you’ll win the league. If you look at their squad and the players they’ve got, they’re still a very good team. They don’t become a bad team overnight because of three bad results. We’ll take the result and we’ll enjoy it but we’ll make sure that we prepare properly for Bray. Bohs matched us up in midfield; I think they’ve had us watched a couple of times. It was important that we didn’t concede because we know if Bohs get a 1-0 lead they’re hard to peg back.
“It was important to get in at 0-0 at half-time,” he added. “We got in there, regrouped and I think we came out in the second half and put in a much better performance. I think the win was deserved. It wasn’t a game of many chances; I don’t think they created many and we didn’t have many ourselves. But it was a great ball in by Ross Gaynor and a great finish by Hats. We do a lot of work on set-pieces; we know we have great deliveries from Ross and JJ Melligan. It’s just a matter of us getting on the end of it, and I think we’ve been on a lot of corners and free-kicks – we’ve just been unlucky with people on the line blocking them. Luckily against Bohs it fell to one of our boys’ feet and he put it in.”
Burns also praised the contribution of young striker Johnny Breen who entered just over midway through the first half in place of midfielder JJ Melligan, who was forced to retire with a calf injury. “Obviously, JJ has been brilliant for us since he’s come into the club,” the centre-half said. “He’s a good lad on the pitch but also off it. To lose a guy of his quality early on was a big disappointment, but, as I said before, it’s up to whoever comes on to take their chance and I thought young Johnny Breen came on and done fantastically well. He’s not going to play many harder games than that. I hope all the other lads are looking on and take that as an example to what they can achieve.”