EPL

I’ve got nothing but praise for him – Craig Bellamy backs Aro Muric after error

By Sports Desk April 13, 2024

Burnley assistant manager Craig Bellamy refused to pin any blame on Aro Muric after a horrible mistake from the goalkeeper cost the relegation-battling Clarets in a 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton.

Five minutes after Josh Brownhill’s opportunistic goal had given Burnley a late lead, Muric let a routine back pass from Sander Berge slip under his foot and in.

Muric has spent most of this season on the bench after Vincent Kompany signed James Trafford in the summer, but the Kosovan, a key part of Burnley’s promotion-winning side last term, dislodged the England Under-21 keeper in March, coinciding with an improvement in Burnley’s form.

And Bellamy, taking the place of Kompany who was serving a touchline ban, said the team had to take responsibility for the mistake because of the way they choose to play out from the back.

“It’s us,” Bellamy said. “It’s not his mistake, it’s our mistake. Do we call it a mistake? I don’t know. It’s how we play. It ain’t going to change. He’s scored goals for us, doing what he does. It’s one of those, it’s not an issue.

“It’s how we play football. It might not please everyone. We’re not here to please everyone, but we believe in this way of football. It might be naive, I don’t know.

“I have a three-year-old girl who still believes in rainbows and unicorns. That might be me. I honestly believe we’re going to get out of this situation, I believe we’re going to stay up. Maybe I’m naive. Maybe I’m the one believing in rainbows and unicorns and it’s actually got to my head.

“But at the same time, I’ve no issue with it. Aro is top. Get the ball again, look for the pass again. You see the save he makes in the last minute. Top. That to me is a goalkeeper. We all make mistakes, it’s how you respond from it. So I’ve got nothing but praise for him, even more.”

Burnley’s goal also came from a back pass, with Carlos Baleba under-hitting a ball to Bart Verbruggen and Brownhill racing after it, with the keeper’s clearance rebounding off him and into the net.

But the bigger frustration was with the chances Burnley missed earlier in the game, with opportunities for Jacob Bruun Larsen and David Fofana going begging – moments that would cost them by the end.

“We played well, especially in the first half,” Bellamy said. “We had good opportunities and should have scored. Coming in from the first half we were a little bit disappointed we weren’t 1-0 or 2-0 up, but that can be football.”

While Burnley rued two lost points, it was yet another draw for injury-hit Brighton – their 11th of the campaign, more than any other side.

Roberto De Zerbi began with the day without nine players through injury and lost Pervis Estupinan only 13 minutes in, leaving the manager to admit their hopes of returning to Europe next season are in peril as they sit 10th in the table.

“It was a fair result,” the Italian said. “For me, we didn’t deserve to win the game, but I think we didn’t deserve to lose the game. We suffered especially in the first 20 minutes, we suffered badly, but after that time, in the last 70 minutes we played a good game but not a great game.

“We are not in the right condition to play great games. In these moments we are suffering, we are spending tough moments, but we have to fight how we did, with pride, with our qualities.

“It is a tough moment, we have a lot of injuries. We are too many points from the high positions to reach our European target. I don’t know. Maybe it can happen.”

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