Sean Dyche hailed “big monster” Nick Pope for setting the groundwork for Burnley’s battling 3-0 win at Watford.
The Hornets bossed the first half at Vicarage Road on Saturday but failed to find a breakthrough, and paid a hefty price as Dyche’s Clarets fought their way to victory after the break.
Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski all found the net to send Watford bottom of the league and Burnley up to sixth, leaving boss Dyche delighted with his side’s grafting qualities.
And Dyche lauded England goalkeeper Pope for keeping Burnley’s defence in check under that first-half pressure.
He said: “As an attacking team you shape to cross, and you think ‘maybe we’ve got a chance’, but then the cross comes in and a big monster like him comes and takes it.
“A goalkeeper can bring a calmness to a team. The defensive unit kept us in it at half-time.
“We couldn’t get a foothold in the game in that first half. So that resilience to make sure we stayed intact is a very important factor in the Premier League.
“You have to stay in it to win it and we did. I don’t think it was a 3-0 performance, Watford gave as good as they got, but you end up taking it, of course.
“Nick Pope has been brilliant and he’ll definitely take confidence from his time with England, and I hope he continues to grow for us now off the back of that.”
Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores was left to count the cost of a seventh defeat in 13 league matches that saw the Hornets slump to the foot of the Premier League.
An unwanted club-record 11th consecutive winless home league match compounded Watford’s heavy reverse, but the Spaniard remains relaxed about his rebuilding job.
Defender Craig Dawson had complained of dizziness before kick-off and was later forced out of the match after a nasty clash of heads left him with a big cut above his left eye.
Flores revealed the 29-year-old had been battling a virus and was a doubt to play right up until kick-off, hailing the former West Brom centre-back for his resolve in making it to the pitch in the first place.
“He was really bad with his stomach before the match,” said Flores.
“He was the best defender in the first half, despite all those problems.
“He’s OK now, he has a cut above his eye.
“It was tough before the match, but he was very professional to be able to play at all.
“That kind of spirit was great from him, and hopefully he will be fine quickly.
“I don’t want fans to think it’s an excuse, but six consecutive matches to lose a player in the first half, that’s not normal.
“It’s incredible, I’m unhappy with that amount of injuries.”