Belfast Telegraph

Dyche plays down player spats

Burnley boss Sean Dyche believes dressing-room spats between players are "a natural occurrence" at the highest level.

Manchester City visit Turf Moor on Saturday at the end of a week where the club have been forced to play down reports that captain Vincent Kompany was dropped following a bust-up with team-mate Fernandinho.

The row allegedly came at half-time during their defeat by Liverpool earlier this month, with neither player in the starting line-up for the clash with Leicester three days later.

But Dyche dismissed suggestions it was a good time to face City and can understand why passions occasionally run too high.

He said: "I think it's a natural occurrence. You've got highly-talented, highly-motivated people, all in a working environment that's very challenging.

"Everyone wants a shirt, everyone wants to play, and also, I can only imagine, at that level you're borderline into 25 mini companies. It's not just players, you're dealing with the whole shebang - PR consultants, agents, PAs, who knows what else.

"I imagine it's like having 25 CEOs and trying to align them all with whatever the bigger picture is. There's always going to be challenges because they're powerful-minded people, which is why they're at the top of the game."

Burnley are without a win in two months and sit second bottom of the Premier League table, three points from safety.

But City and manager Manuel Pellegrini will certainly not underestimate the Clarets after their stunning performance at the Etihad in December, when they fought back from 2-0 down to claim a draw.

Dyche said: "They've got some fantastic players. We experienced that once before, we gave a good performance and I think overall deserved a point out of the game. But that doesn't guarantee us anything this time around.

"They're a highly-motivated group of players, still in the hunt, still right up there, very experienced and a fantastic manager, so obviously it's a big challenge once again."

Dyche added to his squad this week with the recruitment on a three-year deal of Norwegian midfielder Fredrik Ulvestad.

The Burnley boss has been keen for the club to expand their scouting network into Europe and signed 22-year-old Ulvestad after a two-week trial.

The Clarets were already short in midfield before Dean Marney was ruled out for the season with a knee injury last month but Dyche insisted Ulvestad will not be rushed.

"He wanted to come in and I think it's a good way of doing business because he gets a chance to have a look at us and we can have a look at him, and he fitted in straight away," said the Burnley boss.

"That was probably the key thing. Sometimes players who are with you and are not part of the group, they look not part of the group, but he fitted in seamlessly and we thought there was more to come from him, so that's why we signed him.

"At the moment it's that cooling-off period, getting used to how we work. I don't know that much about the Norwegian league but I know it's not the Premier League.

"He's been to a couple of games so he knows how we operate and how the Premier League operates. We're looking forward to him working with us and developing further.

"We have been light in midfield but that's not why Freddie's come in, because if it was he'd have to operate immediately. We think there's more to come going forwards than right now.

"If he's needed this season and we think he's ready, then that's different, but he's only been in the building a couple of weeks, so we'll see how he continues getting used to what it is to be here and obviously then looking at the idea of being in the first team, but there's no rushing that situation."

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