The Burnley manager Brian Laws insists he does not feel the pressure is mounting upon him despite claims that he is facing the sack.
Last weekend's 6-1 defeat at home to Manchester City was Burnley's 11th in 13 Barclays Premier League games since Laws was appointed in January, and the eighth in their last nine. That sequence has left the Clarets – who travel to 18th-placed Hull tomorrow – second bottom in the table, four points from safety with five games to play.
Reports have suggested Laws' job could be under immediate threat, but asked if he felt he was under more pressure now than he was a month ago, Laws said: "No. I knew what pressure was here and it is always going to be there, it will never change. It just means we work extremely hard and are more determined with each day that goes by to turn things around."
Laws is looking for his players to follow the lead of other teams in the top flight this term by bouncing back from their humiliating defeat against City with a positive result this weekend. Burnley are in desperate need of points and a morale-boosting performance after suffering their heaviest loss of the campaign to a City side that ran riot at Turf Moor.
Hull are directly above Burnley in the league but have three more points as well as a game in hand, meaning it is imperative for the Clarets – who have not won away in the league all season – to take something from tomorrow's game.
However, having seen Wigan follow their 9-1 defeat to Tottenham with a victory in November and Aston Villa win last week after being battered 7-1 by Chelsea, Laws is optimistic his players can do something similar.
"The one thing I want is a reaction and I take heart from other teams this season," Laws said. "There have been some ridiculous scores this year in the Premier League. You look at Wigan, who conceded nine goals – the very next game, they react positively and get a result. Aston Villa, same thing, get a result. I want a response and it would be nice to think we can get a result. Maybe it [the City game] was the kick up the backside that we need, I don't know."
Laws confirmed Kevin McDonald will be included in the squad travelling to Hull after the midfielder was fined for leaving Turf Moor without permission at half-time during last weekend's match. It was reported McDonald - who was substituted by Laws at the break with the Clarets 5-0 down – headed to a nearby pub after departing the stadium. The 21-year-old issued an apology on Tuesday for his "naive" and "disrespectful" behaviour, while his manager today admitted McDonald "was an idiot for doing it".
But Laws insists he has now drawn a line under the matter and will consider the Scotland Under-21 international for this weekend's game. "He's made an error, he has held his hand up, he has taken the punishment and he's apologised," Laws said.
"What more can you ask? It was a judgement call he made and it was the wrong one. We'll draw a line under it and move on. He'll certainly be within the squad, so there's no further punishment. He feels a bit of an idiot and he was an idiot for doing it, but we have to draw a line under it. He's a nice kid, he's just had a bad day at the office and he took the wrong decision."
There have been rumours of unrest in the Burnley camp, with Laws reported to have had disagreements with Clarke Carlisle and Robbie Blake – who is also thought to have reacted badly to being substituted at half-time against City – but the manager denied there had been any bust-ups. "I can't influence what's going on on the outside," Laws said. "If people are putting rumours around like that, there is nothing I can do about it, other than to say that there has been no bust-up whatsoever. Obviously we have had a problem with McDonald, but there was nothing to do with Robbie at all."Reuse content