The last couple of weeks have seen a clamour from some Burnley fans to find something, anything, to moan about. The most popular topic seems to be our less than impressive run of results in pre-season. Losses to Bradford and Leeds as well as needing a late goal to get a draw at Accrington Stanley resulted in the panic button being pressed by certain sections of the fans.

Last season we tested ourselves against a similar level of opposition, also with poor results, and were rewarded with a terrible start to the season that left us staring relegation in the face for the first month of the season. Fans pointed the finger at poor pre-season planning and a failure to test ourselves against top opposition, but the reason for our slow start was much more to do with the wrong tactics being played than the players not being adequately prepared.

Once Owen Coyle had settled on the right formation and line-up we were away and never looked back. Hopefully Coyle will have learned from his mistakes last season and will pick the right side for the opening game at Stoke next weekend.

You’d think that with it being our first game in the top flight for 33 years we’d be happy just to go down and take part and that any positive result would be a bonus. But our staggeringly difficult run of games following the Stoke game – we host United and Everton before travelling to Chelsea and Liverpool – means it’s important we get off to a bright start and get on the board. Chances are we’ll get very little from the first few weeks.

Of course, the Britannia is a tricky place to go and many Premier League teams found it difficult there last season. Stoke are a physical side and the fans are very vocal down there, making it an intimidating place to go. But having just come from the Championship we are well practiced in dealing with the style of football that is the Potters’ bread and butter. We are experts at dealing with the long ball forward, and we have come across many of the players in Stoke’s team before.

Pre-season is more about building morale in the squad, getting fitness levels up, and gelling the players together rather than picking up results. As long as the players have reached the necessary stamina levels there is no reason we can’t get off to a positive start at the Britannia.

This article was published at FansOnline Burnley.