Monday 10 December 2018

Dyche: Burnley fighting fit despite European adventure

The Clarets boss does not expect his side to show signs of fatigue against Watford.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche applauds the fans after extra-time at Turf Moor (Nick Potts/PA)
Burnley manager Sean Dyche applauds the fans after extra-time at Turf Moor (Nick Potts/PA)

By Rory Dollard, Press Association Sport

Sean Dyche is confident Burnley’s “unbelievable” fitness means their Europa League exertions will not derail their domestic campaign.

The Clarets qualified for a two-legged play-off against Olympiakos on Thursday with a 1-0 win over Istanbul Basaksehir – already their fifth game of the campaign.

Next opponents Watford, meanwhile, have only 90 minutes of competitive football under their belts.
Dyche has done his best to utilise his squad, making regular changes, and has no worries about fatigue.

“The fitness here is unbelievable. The players’ mental and physical fitness is absolutely fantastic, so they will be ready for Sunday,” he said.

“Statistically, it has been very high since I have been here, (especially) once I got my own group in the first summer.

“I’ll be going into Sunday believing these players will go again. They will run hard, they will play hard and they will do what they need to do to try and win a game.”

“It’s about your own team’s focus, the ability to drive forward no matter what is put in front of them and I think we are good at that.

“Of course, the shape and the tactics are very important, but the will and demand is still a valid thing to have and we have got that in abundance.”

Although unbeaten, and with recent signing Joe Hart boasting three consecutive clean sheets, Burnley may be starting to wonder where more goals will come from.

They have found the net just twice in five completed 90-minute games, requiring the extra half-hour to see off both Basaksehir and Aberdeen.

“I think we’re a work in progress in the top third of the pitch,” admitted Dyche.

“The top third is always the hardest, particularly in the Premier League. There’s people now buying goalkeepers for £70million – and centre-backs for £60m – and they usually do things like that for a reason… because they’re very good.

“But we’ve still got moments of quality, you don’t get where we are if you don’t.”

The two-legged tie against Olympiakos means two of Burnley’s Premier League games have been moved from Saturday to Sunday, with the trip to Fulham now on August 26 and the visit of Manchester United on September 2.

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