Friday 25 May 2018

Dyche joy as Burnley put one foot in Europe

Burnley 0 Brighton 0

Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Burnley manager Sean Dyche. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Independent.ie newsdesk

Burnley's European dream is virtually a reality and manager Sean Dyche insists his squad deserve their place in the Europa League. The Clarets are more or less assured of a top-seven finish as they have a six-point cushion over Everton with two games to go and have a far superior goal difference.

Burnley, who were only promoted back to the top flight in 2016, were last in a European competition over half a century ago.

"It's a fantastic achievement if we get there," Dyche said after yesterday's goalless draw with Brighton. "There's a massive swing involved. We weren't as good as we can be, a long way from it at times, but the habits were there, the will to play was there, we were just short of quality.

"Over the season they've been absolutely fantastic and they've earned the right. The points we've got on the table in the Premier League, you can't cheat that. You can have a lucky spell but you can't be lucky all season. It takes organisation, delivery of performance, the mentality to take on each game, and we've had that in abundance."

Burnley came closest to scoring yesterday during a frenzied first-half passage when goalkeeper Mat Ryan made two desperate saves from Ashley Barnes and Jack Cork, with the ball eventually breaking for Kevin Long to hit a post.

The ball then came back off the woodwork and appeared to strike Lewis Dunk on the arm, yet referee Roger East refrained from awarding the Clarets a first Premier League penalty in over a year.

Burnley's Stephen Ward in action with Brighton's Anthony Knockaert. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters
Burnley's Stephen Ward in action with Brighton's Anthony Knockaert. Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

It was also a point towards Brighton's objective of survival, although Southampton's victory over Bournemouth closed the gap between Chris Hughton's side and the bottom three to five points.

"Before the game you would have certainly settled for the point," Hughton said. "I thought we were the better side. But we hope in the end it's a good point."

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