Cheryl Cole’s hit single Fight For This Love rang out around Turf Moor at the final whistle of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to a superior Wigan outfit and the Clarets could well take the words of the song on board with a simple swap of ‘love’ to ‘ball’.

Burnley were toothless in midfield with Graham Alexander having another off day and Wade Elliott and Andre Bikey struggling to help their veteran team mate out as Wigan simply strolled through the Burnley ranks far too many times.

There’s an unexpected lack of grit about this Burnley side at the moment. After sheer determination helped them win the play-offs and promotion to the Premier League, too often Burnley have been standoffish in the centre of the park and have allowed their opponents too much time on the ball.

The loss of Chris McCann has hurt Burnley more than anyone could have imagined. The Clarets miss his composure on the ball and the way he effortlessly eases opponents out of possession. Bikey’s promotion to the midfield worked initially with the Cameroonian notching a crucial goal in the Birmingham win, but since then he has looked lost and the defence, marshalled once more by the skipper Steven Caldwell, looks dodgier than it ever has under Owen Coyle, with no clean sheets since Caldwell’s return.

Worryingly, when it’s not individual errors costing us, it seems to be a weakness across the board in the back four, with teams finding it all too easy to permeate the tell-tale gaps of a not good enough back line.

Boss Owen Coyle has never been one to mess around with his team and his formation unnecessarily, but it looks like he will have no choice but to change things following back-to-back defeats.

Bikey could slot back into the defence with Kevin McDonald and Joey Gudjonsson both hoping to be in the manager’s thoughts.

Another worry is the form of Robbie Blake. It’s unlikely we would be debating his quality had the last two games resulted in Burnley wins, but the fact is that despite a goal at Ewood and an assist at the weekend, he’s barely been involved in the games, and we often look to be carrying him as a passenger.

How much longer Coyle persists with Blake and Alexander, the elder statesmen of the club, in the same eleven, remains to be seen. There’s certainly an argument for replacing them with more mobile players such as Gudjonsson and even Fernando Guerrero.

Like the love Cole sings about in her song, Burnley have to show they have the desire to fight for the ball. We won’t be able to outplay teams every week, so we must adopt a more pragmatic approach to winning football matches.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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