We can do better - Royle

THE ability to win when not playing well has served many a promotion-chasing team before, and Blues boss Joe Royle admitted it was not one of their better days at Burnley.

THE ability to win when not playing well has served many a promotion-chasing team before, and Blues boss Joe Royle admitted it was not one of their better days at Burnley.

Royle said: "We were far from our best, but I don't think we were ever in too much trouble and the goalkeeper hasn't had much to do, other than two long-distance saves in the first half."

Darren Bent's two great strikes proved the difference as the Blues kept their second clean sheet in three games.

Royle said: "We know we can play better, but they were two great goals that deserve to win any game.


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"We defended properly and had other chances to score, without ever playing at our best. That's a great plus because when we are at our best, we are as good as anything."

Bent's 65th minute goal secured the win and got the Royle seal of approval.

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He said: "The second was a great, great strike. I was thinking Darren was going to bend it into the near post for a team-mate running in, but he smacked a ferocious shot and it would probably still be going if the net hadn't stopped it."

While not everyone was firing on all cylinders, Bent was in red-hot form.

Royle said: "We are lucky to have an all-round goal power and, when our midfield didn't threaten and Shefki Kuqi had an off day, we are fortunate that Darren can step up and score.

"We haven't got a leading goalscorer in the charts, but we have goal power all round."

The win pushes second-placed Town closer to Wigan, who lost at home to Plymouth.

Royle said: "I must say there was a smile and a cheer in the dressing room when we heard that Wigan had lost.

"But we can only concentrate on ourselves and I don't see any great deal of panic that Wigan have lost one game. They have had a terrific start to the season and, because of the size of their squad and their spending power, I would still make them favourites."

The Blues welcome back another former Town player next week when Jermaine Wright returns with Leeds United, who enjoyed a 4-2 win at Preston with David Healy scoring twice against his old club.

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