Belfast Telegraph

Dyche: Clarets hungry for more wins

Sean Dyche insists winning games will not change Burnley's approach to the Barclays Premier League.

Written off before the start of the season, the Clarets' prospects appeared bleak when they failed to win any of their first 10 league games.

But successive victories over Hull and Stoke have taken Burnley's points tally into double figures and lifted them off the bottom of the table.

For Dyche, though, the winless run was not a catastrophe - just as two wins do not mean survival is suddenly on the cards.

He said: "I don't think it's ever got to a stage where it's been too affecting of the players. I think it's been positive all the way through. We believe in that environment anyway, the culture we set here.

"Of course, winning enhances that, and it just reminds the players of what they're about. We made a fantastic habit of winning a lot last year - the challenge changed, quite simply.

"I felt wins would come regardless of all the outside media angles, and they have come, but I also suggested that one doesn't cure everything and two doesn't - you need more. So we're still thirsty and hungry to get more."

Aston Villa are the opponents at Turf Moor on Saturday as Burnley look to make it three wins in a row.

Paul Lambert's side are only two points above the Clarets and have failed to win any of their last eight games, although they did claim a creditable draw against high-flying Southampton on Monday.

Victory could see Burnley climb out of the bottom three, but Dyche maintains that is not extra motivation, saying: "The perfect incentive is just game by game to win.

"There can never be any better incentive than winning. All the rest of it takes care of itself. We've won two back to back, which is excellent for all concerned.

"We've got two home games coming up, which we're looking forward to. We can only take one at a time and we'll be ready for the Villa game. That is something that we do simplify.

"It was only a couple of games ago that one (reporter) said, 'Will you ever win a game?' The point is you've got to win the next one or the next one. The one-game mentality of last season has never been more relevant because this league is very unforgiving.

"The freedom we do have is that the expectation on us is so low - outside of our own expectation. That changes the outlook from other teams - there's a massive expectation on them to win.

"Virtually every other team in the division - their fans, their manager, their players - will be thinking, 'We have to beat Burnley'."

Burnley and Villa are the lowest goalscorers in the Premier League, having managed just 14 between them in 24 games.

Villa have only scored twice in their winless run but Burnley have begun to find the net more frequently, with Danny Ings scoring three times in the last four games.

The visitors will again be without Christian Benteke, who serves the final game of a three-match ban, while they also have injury problems in defence.

There was another blow for manager Lambert on Friday, meanwhile, when assistant Roy Keane resigned to concentrate on his role with the Republic of Ireland.

"There's a big expectation on a club like that," Dyche said.

"There are some realities for them as well. They're missing a couple of players that have become really big players for them, particularly Benteke and (Fabian) Delph.

"It's a young side maturing. Make no mistake - I think they're a good side. I was down there on Monday and they're giving everything.

"Probably like ourselves at times, they're trying to find that extra bit of quality and moment of clarity to score a goal and win a game. They've experienced it enough over the last couple of seasons to be able to do that."

Dyche welcomes back midfielder Scott Arfield to the squad after he missed the Stoke game with a knock but defender Michael Duff (calf) is a doubt.

Paul Lambert has defended his decision to send striker Darren Bent out on loan despite Aston Villa's toothless attack leaving them as the Barclays Premier League's lowest scorers.

Villa have scored just six goals all season, with forwards Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann sharing three apiece.

However, Lambert this week packed Bent off to Sky Bet Championship outfit Brighton despite fans clamouring for the proven goalscorer to be given a chance.

The Villa boss has always refused to criticise Bent ever since the former Tottenham man fell out of favour during the 2012-13 season, but insists he has his reasons for overlooking the 30-year-old.

Asked if Bent's career as a top-flight forward is over, the Scot said: "No, listen, I don't know.

"Darren wanted to go out on loan about a month ago but with Christian Benteke being suspended we had to keep him here.

"It gets Darren's career going again and that's why I loaned him to Fulham last year, to try to get him going. But Darren wanted to go himself as well.

"Christian is coming back after Saturday and I think Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann will find their feet again in terms of goalscoring.

"Charles N'Zogbia is playing pretty decently and Joe Cole is nearly fully fit. So there are certainly goals within the team, we just need to find the solutions to win games."

Lambert admits Bent's style of forward play simply does not fit into his own ethos.

He said: "I play a certain type of football and in a certain way and Gabby has been playing well up there himself, Andi can do it as well, Christian is coming back so there are three guys there that are in front of him.

"There's young Callum Robinson who's come back after doing really well at Preston so I've made the decision for that to happen.

"We just play a different way. Darren came to me a month ago saying he wanted the chance to play more games (and go on loan), which I agreed to do."

Benteke sits out Saturday's trip to Brighton in the final match of his three-game ban for violent conduct against Tottenham.

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