Sean Dyche: Decision to rest players in midweek FA Cup loss paid off for Burnley

George Sessions, PA
·3-min read

Burnley manager Sean Dyche insisted the 3-0 win at Crystal Palace vindicated his decision to rotate his squad for the midweek clash with Bournemouth and also provided a positive update on captain Ben Mee.

The Clarets’ hopes of silverware this season were ended on Tuesday when they lost 2-0 at home to the Cherries in the FA Cup.

Eight changes were made for the fifth-round tie with an eye on this trip to London and it paid off with goals from Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Jay Rodriguez and Matt Lowton enough to earn a first win in five games.

Dyche said: “A few questions marks in the week after I made a lot of changes, which I don’t always do, but we keep losing players with injuries and the players give us a lot.

“I felt it was important to make those changes and today it paid us back because I thought the energy levels of the side were terrific and the tempo of the play both in and out of possession and the effective play.

“I talk many times about how many ways can we affect a game to win and I thought it was all on show with a very good performance.”

A sour note for Burnley, who moved to 26 points and 11 clear of the bottom three, was Mee being taken off on a stretcher.

He was put in a neck brace after an innocuous collision with Jordan Ayew but the defender was on his feet soon after and did not become the first player in the Premier League to be replaced by a concussion substitute.

“It was just a straight substitution,” Dyche confirmed.

“The medical team have to do the things right and make sure that they are well but it was very pleasing to see him walk down just behind us about five or six minutes after he had to go off on a stretcher.

“We are pleased with that and he is fine in the dressing room. I just had a chat with him.”

The victory was particularly poignant for one member of Dyche’s backroom staff.

His number two Ian Woan made the journey to Selhurst Park despite the death of his father Alan, who played for Palace.

Dyche added: “My assistant unfortunately lost his dad overnight to Covid-19 and the complications.

“The reason I am bringing it up, and I have checked with him and he didn’t mind me saying it, is because his dad used to play for Palace.

“I said I think it is relevant for you and the family to remember his career, not just him as a fella. He had a great life and was 90 years old. It is hard for him and I think he did brilliantly, Woany, coming down and his commitment to the cause.

“It’s what his dad would have wanted him to do, he would have said ‘get on with your job’ because that is what he was like.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was left frustrated after he watched his players concede in the opening five minutes for the third game in a row.

“We did get off to a very bad start,” the 73-year-old said after his 350th Premier League game in management.

“To concede two goals so early on was going to make life extremely difficult but that would be unkind on Burnley and their performance which was clearly so much better than ours.

“I will have to think a bit deeper to ask more questions of the team and of ourselves rather than just put it down to we were a bit unlucky and got off to a slow start.”