Ashley Barnes: Burnley forward says some referees would be happy to see side relegated

Ashley Barnes
Barnes joined Burnley in 2014 from Brighton

Burnley forward Ashley Barnes says that referees “want us gone” from the Premier League.

The 17th-placed Clarets are effectively certain of avoiding relegation if they beat Newcastle at home on Sunday (16:00 BST).

They are level on points with Leeds, who are 18th, but Burnley’s goal difference is 20 better.

“In recent seasons people look at us and think we’re a hard team, being ugly,” 32-year-old Barnes said.

“No disrespect, I think people, even referees, want us gone from the league.”

Burnley have had 67 yellow cards in the Premier League this season, the seventh most, plus two red cards.

Englishman Barnes also claimed that referees “buy into” the reputation Burnley may have and referred to their past two games against Tottenham on Sunday, where they lost 1-0, and the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Thursday.

At Spurs, a penalty was given against Barnes for handball after a video assistant review.

He added: “The whole situation when [Kevin Friend] goes to the screen at the weekend, Tottenham played on, they missed a great opportunity and everyone goes to set up for a goal-kick, but then there’s VAR, it’s like, ‘What?’

“Then he’s smiling when he comes away and no one can speak to him. Even at Villa Park we can’t speak to Paul Tierney. Go and check the screen, that’s what it’s for. We just need consistency throughout the decisions.”

When Burnley play Newcastle on Sunday, Leeds are at Brentford and Barnes said his team “just have to stay calm, stay positive and concentrate on ourselves”.

“We’ve got it in our hands to win it at the weekend,” he said.

“We’ve got a good group, an experienced group who know how everything works in terms of game management in these situations and hopefully we can get it over the line.”

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