Belfast Telegraph

Dyche hails improving Clarets

Sean Dyche has credited his Burnley players with finding another level in recent weeks as they look to build on a four-game unbeaten streak at QPR this weekend.

It took the Clarets until the fourth month of the season to finally register their first victory but, buoyed by that early November success over Hull, they have taken eight points from the last 12 available and are only in the Barclays Premier League's bottom three on goal difference.

A win at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon would definitely elevate them out of that lowly trio as Hull face West Brom, and Dyche insists the recent mini purple patch which Burnley are enjoying is a reflection of their ability to kick on.

"Most of my messages have been pretty much the same," he said.

"Early season a lot was made of us not winning but I thought our performances were good. I said 'you've got to go even harder than just giving good performances at this level' and I think we've done that.

"We've certainly deserved the points we've got, we arguably should have nicked all three against (Aston) Villa in terms of the chances we created and Newcastle are a good side so we can't be too greedy.

"The mentality is good, it's growing from the fact they're not just winning and getting points on the board, but from playing in the Premier League. That growth is quite apparent at the moment. There's a lot of games in front of us."

Burnley and QPR are familiar foes having played each in their respective promotion campaigns in the Sky Bet Championship last season and it is those two, along with fellow new boys Leicester, who occupy the three lowest rungs on the Premier League ladder.

Dyche believes that epitomises the quality of the division they all entered back in August.

He added of QPR: "They're back in the Premier League, spent a lot of money and got a very experienced group.

"People are probably surprised where they are a little bit. I'm not suggesting Harry or his men think they should be right up the top of the league but o n paper they've got a strong group.

"It just goes to show you how tough the league is. You look at ourselves, QPR, Leicester - all come up, all full of beans, all looking forward to the challenge, different amounts of money, player trading, but all still finding it really tough because it is a very, very tough division."

Even if Burnley exit the bottom three come Saturday tea-time, Dyche will not stray far from the one-game-at-a-time mentality which served his troops so well during their promotion last term.

"We know what the journey is, it's important we focus on that, not what a piece of paper says at this stage," he said of the league table.

"It's when you get down to the end that it really counts and that's the way I work anyway. It's how we went about our business last season and it served us well.

"It kept the players focused on the next game; no matter who that is, the performance is key and the outcome usually comes with good performances."

The Clarets are likely to be without defensive duo Stephen Ward and Michael Duff once again, with the former set to see a specialist on Friday over an ankle problem which is proving more serious than the club first feared.

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