Stephen Ward: Arsenal defeat is "a bitter pill to swallow"

The Republic of Ireland defender was on the pitch as Burnley were beaten 2-1 at Arsenal

BY Cian Roche 19:40 Sunday 22 January 2017, 19:40 22 Jan 2017

Image: Nigel French EMPICS Sport

Stephen Ward lamented his side's defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon, describing the result as a "bitter pill to swallow".

Burnley won a penalty in stoppage time after Ashley Barnes was fouled in the box and Andre Gray was on hand to tuck the ball home. 

With 93 minutes on the clock, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the goal would be enough for Burnley to snatch a point, but in the final minute of the game Alexis Sanchez stepped up and converted from the spot.

"We're bitterly disappointed," Ward told Off The Ball's Nathan Murphy after the game. "To come to Arsenal and play the way we did, I thought we kept their chances to a minimum and we looked dangerous ourselves. It was actually a really good, tight game of football.

"We felt we deserved a point and I don't know whether he was offside in the build-up. It was a sickener really."

There was doubts about whether the penalty should have been given after referee Jon Moss penalised Ben Mee for a high foot.

"I thought he was offside because we stepped up when the ball went back out. I spoke to Ben [Mee], he thinks he got a touch on the ball. It doesn't help when 50,000 people are shouting at the referee. Unfortunately he had given it. It was a bitter pill to swallow."

Burnley remain in 13th position, 10 points clear of the relegation zone. Ward, however, insists the position is not as secure as it looks on paper.

"It's not as comfortable as you think. We still have to concentrate on every game... We still have a lot of work to do to make sure we stay in the league.

"I'm pleased with the start we've made and to be where we are at this point in the season is a great achievement.

"It's only a stepping stone that has given us a platform to go on and stay in the league."

Of his continued inclusion in the Burnley starting XI he said: "When I first signed I picked up an injury and it took me a while to get back. I had to bide my time to in. We worked hard last year to get promoted and come to places like this and to be able to perform against the best."



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