Can Sunderland improve on disappointing displays against Burnley? David Moyes pinpoints some key areas

Sunderland's defence has struggled against Burnley this season
Sunderland's defence has struggled against Burnley this season
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David Moyes knows his Sunderland side must improve on the basics against Burnley this afternoon.

The Black Cats are without a win in three against the Clarets this season, and were hammered 4-1 in the previous Premier League meeting.

Moyes’ side have struggled with Burnley’s direct approach, Andre Gray bagging a hat-trick on New Year’s Eve after the Sunderland defence folded.

Moyes said: “We learnt after the first game that if we can’t cope physically then we are going to have a problem.

“If we can’t compete for lots of second balls, we’re going to have a problem.

“And we are going to have to be able to deal with set-pieces as well.

“Those things are the basic, fundamental things we have to do before we start talking about tactics or how we’re going to do things – we have to make sure that we’re able to deal with them.”

Burnley are yet to win away from home this season, and were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at Anfield last time out.

Moyes is determined to ensure they don’t break their duck this weekend, but he knows it is vital his side don’t suffer another lapse in concentration.

The Black Cats have started well against Manchester City and Southampton recently, but failed to take advantage, going behind just before half-time.

That pattern has been a regular and frustrating one throughout the campaign and Moyes says that happening again would suit Sean Dyche’s team down to the ground.

The visitors’ poor away record is balanced against a well-drilled, settled squad who have been together for a long period and shown they can come through difficult runs of form.

Moyes said: “We’ve got to make sure that it [bad away form] doesn’t turn. Burnley have been tough opposition for lots of teams this year – they’re well drilled, they’ve been together in a team as a group for good years now, which gives them a little bit of an advantage.

“Somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes, we’ve often conceded because we’ve not scored or not been concentrating.

“So it’s about scoring but also about making sure we’re not conceding, going into half-time putting us on the back foot. There’s two parts to it, but the big things is we need to score more and create more chances.

“They’ve done it very well [digging in]. They’ve become accustomed to playing that way at times, but I’ve got to say some of what they’ve done at times has been good – there’s an improvement there.”