Belfast Telegraph

Burnley boss Sean Dyche tells players to avoid outside opinions

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has ordered his players to ignore rising expectations as they prepare to head to West Brom on Monday night having cracked the Premier League's top 10.

The Clarets' last-gasp win over Crystal Palace two weeks ago lifted Dyche's men to an impressive ninth place and served to further suggest that top-flight survival is far from beyond them.

But Dyche insists his players have good reason not to get carried away by their recent surge in fortune - pointing out Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as a recent example of how quickly things can change.

Dyche said: "I think it changes in the Premier League almost weekly, depending on whether you've had a good result or a bad result.

"Conte was rumoured to be under pressure, then after three more games he was amazing and it was champions-elect kind of thinking.

"I think there is a lower expectation here. It is slightly bigger than last time but I think if you look at the division most of the press and the pundits are not giving us much of a chance even though we've had a solid start.

"We're used to that. I certainly tell them (the players) not to be affected by it - to not even think about it. However people are judging us - good, bad or indifferent - is not really relevant to me personally."

Burnley's solid start to the campaign is in contrast to their ultimately ill-fated season in the top-flight two years ago and Dyche acknowledged improvements on and off the pitch have left them much better equipped to survive.

He added: "We're better placed as a club but the challenge is still enormous. The whole club is better geared up for it and on the pitch we'll see - we've made a really solid start but that doesn't (mean we're safe).

"We found a way to win in the Championship by the way we worked and we found we could do that often. In the Premier League it's tougher, but I think the squad is more rounded now than two years ago, and we have got a bit more depth."

Ashley Barnes' recovery from injury to score an injury time winner against the Eagles two weeks ago increased Dyche's options up front with both Barnes and Andre Gray pushing to start in the trip to the Hawthorns.

Defender Stephen Ward missed the win over Palace due to a hamstring strain but has trained this week and could be set to return against the Baggies.


From Belfast Telegraph