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Sean Dyche insisted he has never lost sight of the value of Premier League football to the people of Burnley as his side looks forward to a sixth consecutive season in the top flight.
Monday’s win over Fulham lifted the Clarets up to 15th place with the bottom three now set, and Dyche said ensuring survival this season had been his greatest achievement against the challenges of the pandemic.
Burnley do not always win many plaudits for their playing style, unfairly or otherwise, but Dyche said that was not his concern.
“People in these parts, certainly my players and the board members, they’re not overly fussed about the way we go about things when the money comes in,” Dyche said.
“The fans enjoy the fact we’re in the Premier League, the town enjoys the fact we’re in the Premier League, the players enjoy it and so do I and my staff.
“There’s a story behind what we do on the football pitch – there’s hundreds of jobs made around this club from being in the Premier League and there’s hundreds of people doing well out of this club being in the Premier League and we don’t lose sight of that.
“If people want to say we play this way or that, that’s fine, that’s football, and it’s out there for everyone to have an opinion.”
And while results on the pitch have not matched those of three years ago when the Clarets qualified for the Europa League, Dyche said the challenges of the past 12 months made this a greater success for him personally.
“It’s about the job of management,” he said. “Some clubs have changed, they have more of a head coach, but at this club we have a manager and I manage a lot of things, so yes this has been the most successful.
“The viewpoint from outside, you wouldn’t dream of saying that because of course we got into Europe but this is a different form of success, trying to keep the place on an even keel.
“Anyone can take the wheel of a ship in calm water but it’s not so easy when it gets rough, and we’ve guided the ship through some rough seas.”
Though it is job done as far as the relegation battle is concerned, Dyche has now challenged his players to finish off the season strongly, starting with Saturday’s visit of Leeds when the Clarets will be looking to avoid a club record ninth top-flight home match without a win.
Dyche hinted at a few changes to his side, with Phil Bardsley needing treatment for a hernia problem and others – including England goalkeeper Nick Pope – to be assessed after playing through the pain in recent weeks.
However, he wants no let up in performances.
“We want to finish the season strong,” he said. “We’ve had a few players missing with injury and a few hanging on and we want to make sure we do the right things with injuries so we don’t go into pre-season with it carrying on.
“But we want to finish the season strong. We didn’t get all the points we deserved but the performances have been good and we want to maintain that.
“It’s natural when you’ve had a challenging season, there’s a bit of relief when the initial job is done and signed off, but now we can take on the next one with these games, and play with a bit of open-mindedness and freedom.”