Burnley boss admits his team are suffering

Eddie Howe
Burnley manager Eddie Howe is looking forward to the international break. Photo: PA

Burnley boss Eddie Howe admitted his side were hurting after they crashed to a third successive npower Championship defeat with a 3-1 loss at home to Brighton.

The Clarets were identified as possible promotion contenders before the start of the season but an opening day win over Bolton remains their only success from their opening four games.

A Gordon Greer own-goal had cancelled out Craig Mackail-Smith's opener for Brighton but the Scotland striker produced a stunning overhead kick to put his side back ahead in the 77th minute.

And with Greer making amends for his early mistake to seal all three points for the Seagulls with a late goal, Howe admitted his side would be sulking until they return to action on September 15.

"We have got a break which we didn't really want now but we have a game after to look forward to so we need to prepare for that," he said.

"We have a lot of honest lads and they are hurt as much as I am.

"It was a disappointing first half. I thought Brighton dominated possession and we struggled to get a foothold in the game.

"Again, we have conceded from three set plays and that is hugely frustrating from our perspective.

"We really shouldn't concede an overhead kick in our box, it should be our head on it.

"We really didn't deserve anything from our first-half performance but in the second half we had a right go and it could have been really different if at 1-1 we had taken a couple of our chances.

"Their keeper made a couple of great saves but at least we were getting balls into their box and posing them questions which we didn't in the first half.

"I think it helps having two up top but then we are reliant on personnel."

Mackail-Smith, who was linked with a number of Barclays Premier League sides during the summer, remained at Brighton as the transfer window slammed shut last night.

And his value to the Seagulls was underlined at Turf Moor, with manager Gus Poyet claiming his spectacular second was the best goal he had seen in his three years at the club.

"I thought we played very well today and we're pleased with that," he said.

"We have been playing very well so far this season. In the first two games we couldn't score but now Macca (Craig Mackail-Smith) is on fire.

"He's a very good player for us. He has showed he can score from anywhere in any situation so we are very pleased.

"I thought it was going to be one of those days where you don't get what you deserve when we conceded the equaliser to them but we kept going and it we got the goals.

"The second from Macca was probably the best goal I have seen in my time at Brighton and Hove Albion. It will be on television lots and lots over the weekend."