‘Very difficult without them’ – Sean Dyche can’t wait for Burnley fans to return

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Sean Dyche is hoping Saturday’s match against Leeds will be the last time Burnley ever play a Premier League match behind closed doors.

With lockdown restrictions due to ease in time for 3,500 supporters to attend Wednesday’s clash with Liverpool, the Clarets should be walking into an empty Turf Moor for the final time this weekend.

Playing behind closed doors has impacted the home form of just about every Premier League side, but certainly appears to have hurt Burnley more than most as they go into the game looking to avoid a club-record ninth consecutive top-flight home game without a win.

“The thing we’ve missed this year – they play a massive part at this club – is the fans,” Dyche said.

“Aside from my first year here when I got a lot of stick, they’ve stood by me and they’ve stood by the team and the club and they’ve built a nice energy and a nice connection which has been very, very important.

“To miss that this year has been very difficult for them and very difficult for us.”

Burnley’s last home win was a 3-2 success over Aston Villa on January 27, since when they have won away at Crystal Palace, Everton, Wolves and Fulham to ensure their Premier League survival for another season.

But Dyche is convinced those fortunes will change once fans are back.

“There’s a bit of freedom in the stands here to question players enough to a add a bit of heat, to say, ‘Come on, we expect’, but it’s not enough to start getting on players to the limit,” he said.

“The fans are very rounded with that, very balanced. The challenge of the Premier League is difficult and they are open-minded to that.

“That’s been very important to us down the years and will important again. Hopefully we have fans in before the end of the season and then more next season with the way things are going.”

Burnley have made the decision not to charge the lucky fans who manage to get a ticket via the ballot process, asking instead that those who are able to do so consider making a donation to charity instead.

Dyche has no particular explanation for Burnley’s recent inability to win at Turf Moor, but said strong performances had gone unrewarded in recent weeks.

“I don’t think performances have been that far off,” he said. “We’ve drawn more than usual and obviously we had a very tough start with injuries but on balance I’m pretty happy overall.

“We’ve not got as many points as usual but the performances have still been pretty good. There have been a couple of blips of course and a few that have just been really tight margins.

“If we get fans back and home form improves it will be fair to say fans have an obvious effect on teams.”

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