Belfast Telegraph

Sean Dyche believes Burnley have dangerous underdog spirit

By Eleanor Crooks

Burnley boss Sean Dyche hopes the experience of earning promotion against the odds can stand his players in good stead for the tests to come in the Barclays Premier League. The Clarets have no chance to ease themselves into the top flight with likely title challengers Chelsea the first visitors to Turf Moor tonight.

Much has been made of the considerable differences between the two clubs, but Dyche expects his players to meet the challenge head on.

Looking back to the 2-0 win over Wigan in April that clinched promotion for Burnley, the manager said: "There were some big games last year, people forget that.

"We played Wigan and delivered a fantastic performance, and that's probably the biggest game these players have played in a long time, because that one clinches what you're trying to do, and that means a lot to the club, a lot financially, a lot to the area, and of course the kudos of getting promoted.

"It's fair to say the first one against Chelsea, coming to Turf Moor under the lights with the TV cameras, that's a big game in itself.

"So it's how the players respond. We work hard on the training pitch to allow them the chance to deliver when that moment comes."

Dyche knows they must make the most of Turf Moor to give themselves the best possible chance of survival.

In their only previous season in the Premier League, in 2009/10, Burnley picked up 26 points at home, but only four away and were relegated.

"I got the feeling last season that there was a true belief with the fans and the player connection," said Dyche.

"I think they really felt they had a group who were totally motivated towards the shirt and the club and the cause. They've come to really understand that and the positivity around that.

"They will know we need that because the task has gone up again. We want the fans to stay with us of course and they did so last season, even when we had a couple of testing times at home.

"We'd go a goal down and there was a calmness to the stadium, a belief that the group would keep going.

"We're renowned for that, we are relentless in the way that we work and the way we approach games and deliver. We're looking to make sure that's still intact."

If Chelsea fans expect to ease to three points tonight, they would do well to remember the fate that befell Manchester United in August 2009.

The Red Devils were the first team to visit Turf Moor that season and were beaten 1-0, Robbie Blake scoring the only goal, while Brian Jensen saved a penalty.

Dyche has clearly heard the story many times since joining the club in 2012, but is not about to promise a repeat.

"We can't guarantee that," he said. "The size of some of the clubs we're coming across, some of the players, no guarantees.

"But what we are looking to guarantee is that we're ready, we're able, we're certainly mentally and physically motivated to go and deliver performances. Where that takes us we'll only know once the season gets off and running.

"There's always confidence because you believe in how you work, your staff work and your players work. That's what coaching and management is about.

"But you can only get to that point when you're ready. When that whistle blows, it really is down to players. That's the magic moment.

"We're obviously looking to show we can at least be competitive, give good performances and see where that takes us."

Belfast Telegraph


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