Another Monday night game. Another defeat.
Newcastle United have not sone well in these TV games over the past few years.
But Rafa Benitez’s side only had themselves to blame for last night’s defeat.
They didn’t create enough and they conceded a poor, poor goal – scored in the 74th minute by Jeff Hendrick.
Newcastle had gone into the game, the club’s 50th visit to Turf Moor, looking to end a run of 13 winless Monday away games.
Their last success had come against Bolton Wanderers at the nearby Macron Stadium on Boxing Day in 2011.
Benitez had launched a staunch defence of forward Ayoze Perez before the game in the wake of criticism from some fans.
“I can read the comments and some people say this or that,” said Benitez. “He’s doing well. He’s a clever player. He has good movement.”
Perez, however, was to come in for more criticism after the match.
As it was, Mohamed Diame, Benitez’s other No 10, did play – but not at the expense of Perez.
Diame was paired with Jonjo Shelvey in midfield, while Mikel Merino – who had scored the club’s winner against Crystal Palace nine days earlier – wasn’t involved because of a back problem.
Merino’s vision and mobility were certainly missed at Turf Moor.
After a difficult start, which saw a series of balls delivered into Rob Elliot’s box, United started to settle into the game.
The pace of Christian Atsu won them a corner, and the winger shot over from Matt Ritchie’s flag kick.
Shelvey tested Nick Pope with a fierce drive after more good work from Atsu.
Burnley had chances of their own – Ashley Barnes headed a Robbie Brady cross wide of goal in the 31st minute – but there wasn’t much for those inside Turf Moor, or back home watching on TV, get excited about before the break.
Joselu, again preferred to Dwight Gayle up front, was clumsy with his back to goal. The striker, however, set Perez up early in the second half with a clever flick, but Pope was able to turn the forward’s curled shot round his post.
Benitez held back from making a change, and Burnley took the initiative.
Perez lost the ball in midfield, and it was worked to Jack Cork, who had a shot saved by Elliot.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson crossed to the far post, where Hendrick was unmarked. Hendrick controlled the ball and rolled it into an empty net. He won’t score too many easier goals in his career.
Newcastle have been sound defensively for the most part this season, but the goal was disappointing from start to finish.
Benitez sent on Gayle, Isaac Hayden and Jacob Murphy, but the damage was done. It was another entirely forgettable Monday night for Newcastle.
Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Gudmundsson, Defour (Westwood 76), Cork, Brady, Hendrick, Barnes. Subs Not Used: Vokes, Wells, Lindegaard, Bardsley, Long, Arfield. Booked: Gudmundsson, Cork, Tarkowski. Goals: Hendrick 74.
Newcastle: Elliot, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Shelvey, Diame (Gayle 83), Ritchie (Murphy 79), Perez (Hayden 76), Atsu, Joselu. Subs Not Used: Clark, Saivet, Darlow, Jesus Gamez.
Att: 21,031 Ref: Mike Dean.