Dyche 'has no regrets' as Austin turns tormentor
Published 17/10/2016 | 02:30
Sean Dyche remains adamant that he has no regrets over selling Charlie Austin back in 2013 but, after watching his old striker now score a fourth goal in as many games against his Burnley team, he must at least be wondering if £4m was sufficient compensation.
Southampton 3 Burnley 1
An Austin brace here followed two previous goals against Burnley for QPR and provided the foundation for a win that pushes Southampton into the top eight of the Premier League.
It also extends Austin's own run to seven goals in six games, even if Southampton manager Claude Puel then immediately warned his leading scorer that he could be rested on Thursday night from Southampton's big glamour Europa League fixture at Inter Milan.
"It is important he doesn't play all the games or, after, it's an automatic injury," explained Puel. "Charlie is not an endurance player and it is important to keep him with his qualities."
Austin had previously scored 45 goals in his three seasons at Burnley but Dyche, with some justification, also pointed to his club's wider progress since the decision was made to allow him to join Harry Redknapp at QPR.
"I'm never sick of the sight of Charlie," he said. "We sold him for £4m and got promoted twice. I give him a high five every time I see him."
Buoyed by three successive home wins, Southampton started with real intent and thought they had taken the lead inside five minutes. Matt Targett had produced a wonderful cross that Austin rose to meet but his glancing header was somehow turned around the post when it seemed already to have beaten Tom Heaton.
It was a stunning save and one that provoked comparison with perhaps the most famous in all football history - when Gordon Banks deprived Pele at the 1970 World Cup.
There then followed what Dyche called "a big defining point" when Virgil van Dijk certainly upended Johann Gudmundsson only for referee Mike Dean to wave play on.
A Premier League record so far this season of 34 shots underlined Southampton's dominance even if much of their initial finishing was wayward. Indeed, Puel later observed that he would have preferred less shots for rather more efficiency.
The home crowd were hugely lifted at half-time by the sight of former player Francis Benali arriving back at St Mary's following his heroic 15-day challenge for Cancer Research UK of visiting every Premier League and Championship ground in running a daily marathon and then cycling 75 miles on his bike.
"It was a life-changing experience - I pushed myself to the limit," said Benali.
Southampton began the second half with fresh purpose and Austin's double (one from the penalty spot), along with a neat Nathan Redmond finish, put them in command before Sam Vokes got a consolation goal for the visitors, also from the penalty spot - the first goal Southampton had conceded in 612 minutes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)