Forwards will be crucial, admits Jackson

But caretaker boss Mike Jackson believes his attacking group will be crucial to his side’s survival hopes in the remaining five games.

Under Jackson, the team scored four goals in three games, having failed to find the net in five of their previous six outings.

Wout Weghorst scored at West Ham after striker partner Jay Rodriguez hit the bar, while after defenders Connor Roberts and Nathan Collins scored in the win over Southampton Matej Vydra turned in a cross from Weghorst to seal three points against Wolves.

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BURNLEY, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 08: Jay Rodriguez of Burnley is congratulated by Wout Weghorst and Dwight McNeil of Burnley after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on February 08, 2022 in Burnley , England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

With Maxwel Cornet missing the final game and a doubt for Saturday’s trip to Watford, Jackson is once again counting on Weghorst, Rodriguez and Vydra, with Ashley Barnes also in contention.

And Jackson said: “You can never have enough attacking players, at this stage of the season if you lose your attacking players it can cause you big problems, if you lose too many.

“So the more offensive options you have, the better it is to be able to turn things around.

“I remember playing against Neil Warnock’s teams years ago, and he had three strikers playing, and they would come off and three completely different ones would all come in and make you think again.

“It’s important that we have that flexibility as well.”

To that extent, Rodriguez and Vydra lined up on the left on several occasions against Wolves, with Barnes no stranger to the role either.

That could be the case at Vicarage Road, if Cornet remains unavailable, and Jackson praised Rodriguez’s professionalism.

Although Burnley have been short of wide players at times during the campaign, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson injured and Mislav Orsic set aside in January, Rodriguez’s ability to play as a wide striker has been somewhat overlooked.

However, Jackson said: “Jay is good at those broader areas.

“I still think he’s the best in the middle, but we looked at him for the game the other day and moved him again in the middle of the first half.

“With Jay he’s ready to do what it takes for the team, as a personality, as a boy, as a character, you can’t ask for anything more as a coach or a manager.

“I told him to play on the left, and he said ‘if you need me to play there I’m ready to go’, and that’s all you can ask of your players, when they are ready to do so.

“He’s a very good pro, a very good person and a very good character.”

And while Weghorst has found goals hard to come by, with two out of 15 appearances for Burnley since joining from Wolfsburg, he has three assists, and against Wolves his work rate was remarkable – his 57 pressures in the game, a Premier League high for the season. , and 15 more than anyone else all weekend.

Jackson was impressed with what he saw: “He wants to be a bit of a perfectionist. He really wants to do really well and he wants to improve.

“I think he can be a little hard on himself which is good to have some kind of standards.

“With him, I think he’s still coming to terms with what this league is about too.

“But the running that’s involved in that – and you look at his stats after the game, it shows he’s ready to work and that’s what I’ve seen from the group.

“He’s going to need it all the time for every game now. That work rate, that work ethic.”

Is there a fear that he’s overdoing it and having to focus on what’s happening in the penalty area?: “Yes, again it depends on how you run the game .

“We’re always looking to make sure we don’t give them too much practice, we always watch the load and so hopefully give them the best chance that when they come into the game they’re ready to go. [and we can say] ‘Are you going.’

“We’re not holding them in a game. If he thinks he can go out there and do it, then go ahead. Go ahead.”

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