Burnley 2-0 Parma: Rodriguez at the double in Clarets' final friendly
(Photo by Rich Sellers/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Burnley warmed-up for next week's Premier League opener against Southampton with a 2-0 win over Parma as Jay Rodriguez bagged a brace.

Two headed efforts from the £10million signing early in the second half saw the Clarets past the Serie A side, who had edged the first half despite their relative lack of match practice.

Story of the game

Burnley were out of the blocks brightly, but a lapse after four minutes could have seen them fall behind. They failed to clear a Parma corner, but they were fortunate that Yann Karamoh could not strike cleanly when it broke for him in the six-yard box.

There was another let-off 12 minutes in after some more unconvincing set-piece defending, with an unmarked Juraj Kucka volleying wide at the back post. 

Parma were looking the better side and fashioned a few openings before coming within inches of taking the lead midway through the half when Roberto Inglese headed against the crossbar, again from a corner-kick. 

Burnley improved slightly and went direct to create a rare opportunity, Chris Wood lofting Matthew Lowton's clipped ball over the top. 

There was little action in the final 15 minutes of the first-half, but Burnley were forced into two substitutions after Robbie Brady and Jack Cork picked up knocks. Sean Dyche brought Dwight McNeil and Ashley Westwood in their respective places, likely as a precaution. 

Burnley found the breakthrough seven minutes onto the second half when the ball was worked wide to Aaron Lennon and his deflected cross found Rodriguez at the back post with an empty net before him. 

The hosts were looking much more threatening, and Rodriguez found more joy at the back stick on 56 minutes when Lowton's ball into the box evaded the Parma defence and he was able to wrong-foot Luigi Sepe with a header back across goal.

Parma did have chances to halve a deficit, with Mattia Sprocati shooting past the post, Kastriot Dermarku sending a free header wide and Nick Pope palming away Andreas Cornelius' curler.

But it could also have been a more comfortable victory for Burnley as substitute Nakhi Wells looked lively, forcing Sepi into a low stop after Josh Benson slipped him through before teeing-up Ashley Barnes for another shot on target.

It was a fairly even game, but Rodriguez's accomplished finish for his second would ultimately put it beyond the visitors.

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Takeaways

Rodriguez stakes his claim

It is surely telling that Dyche selected Rodriguez and Wood as his starting frontline in this final pre-season fixture.

Rodriguez's brace here follows strikes against Nice and Wigan Athletic, and this impressive run of pre-season form could well be enough to convince the manager he merits a starting spot over Barnes.

He really could not miss for his first, but the technique for the second was difficult to execute. Both goals earned a roar from those inside the stadium, who proceeded to declare the returning striker 'one of their own'

No.1 spot all but confirmed for Pope

Pope's preparations have been disrupted by a groin injury but tellingly, he still got the nod over Joe Hart.

The Englishman is rated very highly here after shining in the campaign before last, hence the award of a new deal in May.

A clean sheet, achieved with relatively little fuss, likely secures his spot in the starting eleven against Southampton. 

Improved intensity

Burnley had struggled to get going before the break but were clearly rallied by Dyche in the dressing room and went up a few gears in the second half.

One feature of their play here to look out for in the Premier League was the pressure they exerted on the Parma backline, which made it very difficult for the Italian side to build as effectively as they did in the earlier stages. 

The Clarets faithful very much enjoyed the aggressive approach.

Some concerns remain

One or two problems did crop-up. Most notably, the set-piece defending in the first quarter of the game was very suspect and would definitely have been punished by a more clinical opponent.

Burnley also lacked creativity in central areas, forcing them to take to the flanks. They did of course create two goals from out wide, but their playing style could become all-too-predictable without a midfielder like Jeff Hendrick or Ashley Westwood moving forward to link with the frontmen. 

Man of the match

Rodriguez goes down as Burnley's star performer after his match-winning brace, but defenders Lowton and Ben Mee, in the absence of his usual partner James Tarkowski, were also impressive.

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