Saturday 24 February 2018

Dyche has no concerns over Barnes

Nemanja Matic, left, reacts following the challenge from Ashley Barnes, pictured on the ground
Nemanja Matic, left, reacts following the challenge from Ashley Barnes, pictured on the ground

Sean Dyche expects Ashley Barnes to react well to the furore caused by his clash with Nemanja Matic and hopes the striker will not change his combative playing style.

The Burnley forward was widely condemned after catching Matic on the shin with his studs during last weekend's 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Matic was sent off for his furious reaction, with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho branding the challenge "criminal" and arguing it could have ended his player's career.

Barnes is known for his physical style of play and has committed more fouls this season than any other player in the Premier League.

Dyche said of the 25-year-old: "He's been good (this week). It's not the ideal situation. We know how things get blown up very quickly at this level and particularly when powerful people in the game give big opinions on situations, the media run with it.

"It's an interesting part of his learning curve. It's not something that's come his way before, I'm pretty sure of that, but he's a steady lad, he's been doing tremendously for us.

"The lads obviously are all round that situation, as are the staff, so onwards and upwards for him.

"I hope that he just plays with the freedom he has been. That's it in a nutshell."

Chelsea's anger was only compounded when the Football Association announced it would not be punishing Barnes retrospectively, leaving him free to play against Swansea this weekend.

Matic, meanwhile, saw his ban reduced from three matches to two on appeal but will miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final.

Asked about Barnes escaping sanction, Dyche said: " There's no relief in it. The powers that be make decisions so I leave them to do their job."

Dyche insisted his positive opinion of Mourinho and Chelsea has not changed because of the incident, saying: " Absolutely not.

"Every manager works on behalf of themselves, their team and their club, and every manager has the right to conduct themselves in any way they see fit.

"I have my way of working and I choose my way to deliver messages or look at situations, to look at my team and how I operate. I don't question anyone. It's up to them."

The Burnley boss sees no reason to clear the air with his opposite number, though, saying: " I wouldn't do with any other manager about another situation.

"He's a fantastic manager, fantastic club, fantastic players. These are just flashpoints that can happen in football."

After Mourinho's explosive appearance on Sky's 'Goals on Sunday', Dyche recorded a YouTube video the following day giving his version of the contentious incidents that occurred.

"It's not something that I regularly do but I just felt it was appropriate and needed at that time," said the Burnley boss, who argued Barnes' movement was natural and that it only appeared a bad challenge when replayed in slow-motion.

"It won't fester for me. It was gone before I had to do the thing on Monday."

Dyche does not expect referees to pay Barnes any extra attention and hopes Burnley's reputation will not have been harmed by the incident.

He said: "I don't think anyone should overthink what we're about as a group and as a club. If they do, that's up to them.

"I think there's some very sensible fans out there who know the situation, know what they're seeing and listening to, know the way teams operate, and I'd be surprised if they thought we were operating in any other way than just giving everything we can to win football matches to be in the Premier League."

The focus on the flashpoint overshadowed Burnley's achievement in securing a point at the home of the Premier League leaders, which left them in the bottom three only on goal difference.

"That's the worst part of it," said Dyche.

"Everyone lost sight of the game, everyone lost sight of our performance. It happens. One incident takes more coverage than the whole game in its entirety.

"I thought we delivered a very good performance. They're a very good side. I said all along it would take a very good side to be in front of them at the end of the season.

"For us to go there, get a point, nearly nick it at the end, and even against 11 I thought we were delivering a really good performance."

Press Association

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