Tuesday 18 December 2018

Dyche insists busy Burnley schedule not a big concern

Burnley 1 Watford 3

Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: Dave Howarth/PA Wire
Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: Dave Howarth/PA Wire

Jason Mellor

Sean Dyche has played down concerns that Burnley's demanding early-season schedule is already starting to take its toll on their efforts to repeat their Premier League heroics of last season, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to agree with him.

Watford took advantage of leggy-looking hosts, who alarmingly ran out of steam in their sixth competitive game in 25 days, thanks to their ongoing attempts to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.

The visitors had not scored on enemy territory for eight months, but they were good value for their first away win since November.

It may not quite be time for alarm bells, but victory in the looming two-legged play-off with Olympiakos would mean Dyche's side facing a Thursday-Sunday schedule for a good part of the remainder of the year, one that has proved beyond bigger squads than that available to the Burnley manager.

Claimed

"The issue of the Europa League is not a new story," said Dyche, who claimed Watford's Will Hughes should not have still been on the pitch to score his side's third goal in the 51st minute.

Watford's Will Hughes celebrates scoring their third goal with Troy Deeney. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Watford's Will Hughes celebrates scoring their third goal with Troy Deeney. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

"We've taken on the challenge of Europe, it's here, it's real and we have to deal with it."

Watford clinched their first victory here for 14 years thanks to goals at the outset of each half.

Andre Gray, the former Burnley forward who refused to celebrate his third-minute opener, confidently volleyed the visitors ahead after an exchange of passes with Troy Deeney to end Watford's 229-day wait for a top-flight away goal.

Burnley were level within three minutes, James Tarkowski stemming an even longer drought with his first goal for the club in more than two years when he headed home a Johann Berg Gudmundsson corner at the back post.

Burnley's Chris Wood in action with Watford's Jose Holebas. Photo: Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters
Burnley's Chris Wood in action with Watford's Jose Holebas. Photo: Ed Sykes/Action Images via Reuters

The hosts' failure to find a second goal in their best spell before the break proved decisive, as Watford scored twice at the outset of the second half.

Deeney restored their advantage in the 48th minute with a composed finish from Abdoulaye Doucoure's sumptuous pass into the box, before Hughes sealed victory, intercepting a wayward Matt Lowton pass to beat Joe Hart with a powerful low finish from 25 yards.

Watford's Javi Gracia was happy with his Hornets after they maintained their 100pc start to the season but didn't get carried away. "It's a good start, but that's all it is," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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