Fulham defender downplays Manchester United 'Conference' quotes

Fulham Turnstiles

Fulham's Dan Burn has moved to clarify reports that Manchester United's tactics reminded him of playing in the Conference.

Fulham came away from Old Trafford on Sunday the much happier of the two teams after nicking a point with a last minute goal from Darren Bent. They had led for much of the game after Steve Sidwell put them ahead in the 19th minute following a delightful through ball from Lewis Holtby.

Manchester United dominated the game thereafter and Fulham had to defend against a barrage of crosses. That seemed to be David Moyes' only tactic. Antonio Valencia even came on to replace right-back Rafael to allow the side to whip more balls into the box.

The Red Devils produced 82 crosses during the game, and remarkably did no't score from a single one of them. Robin van Persie scored from Juan Mata's centre, while Michael Carrick scored from a deflected effort from just outside the area.

When Adnan Januzaj was brought on it was clear that his instructions were just to cross the ball straight away. It was almost embarrassing to see a powerhouse like Manchester United resort to such predictable tactics at home to the bottom-placed side in the Premier League.

The 82 crosses was the most a side had ever produced since the start of the 2006/2007 Premier League season. Only 18 of them were completed.

Sending in that many crosses when Fulham possessed a 6ft 7in defender in Dan Burn probably wasn't wise. He said he hadn't experienced anything like that since his days at Darlington.

"I was saying to the lads that I’ve never headed that many balls since the Conference! At the end of the day I'm happy for them to play like that. I'm 6ft 7in so it helps when dealing with those sort of balls."

This, sparked numerous headlines over the course of the day, with many national newspapers writing that Burn had compared United's play to a conference side.

Burn, in a fresh article on Fulham's website has moved to downplay his comments, insisting he was not being disrespectful:

"I didn’t mean that quote to sound as disrespectful as it’s been reported. There were a lot of crosses, statistically more than any game since stats started, so I just joked that I hadn’t headed as many balls since the Conference.

“It was a deluge of pressure, and I was just glad I could get on the end of some of them and we were all relieved to get a point. United have world-class players, and we’re up against more world-class players, and arguably the best striker in the league, on Wednesday night.”

Burn, along with new signing Jonny Heitinga, defended the Fulham area very well, and their concentration levels have to be admired because they were involved in the action for whole match pretty much. Although Fulham scored twice they very rarely ventured into the opposition's half.

This result can now give them the boost they needed, while Manchester United will continue to lose confidence and wonder whether they can make it into Europe.

Burn has featured in Fulham's last four league matches as well as three FA Cup ties and yesterday kept Brede Hangeland on the bench. Rene Meulensteen is putting his faith in the youth after also giving Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole a taste of the action yesterday as well.

Burn's future looks bright, as he has impressed at the heart of defence. After joining the Cottagers from Darlington in 2011 he spent last season on loan at Yeovil Town and helped them to promotion from League One. He then joined Birmingham City on loan in the Championship this season and played 28 times before being recalled by Fulham.

After defending resolutely, Burn always knew it would be a backs against the wall job.

"We knew that was going to happen," he said. "We knew that we were going to defend our box well. We were going to keep our back-four quite narrow so that we were between the goal, and the wingers were going to look after the wide men.

"It's the first time I've played against United. It's still a massive club and the players they've got there. They know that they should be doing better themselves. I'm just pleased we've come away with a good result."

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