Burnley boss has no fear of snipers
TOP of the league, Burnley are there to be shot at.
But Sean Dyche does not feel or fear the snipers.
Through the lows of last season to the highs of this the manager has maintained a level-headed approach.
It was an attitude that helped to avoid trouble last term, with a game to spare, and catapult the Clarets to 11th place.
Now, riding high on the strength of five straight Championship wins, his focus and motivations have not wavered, even if the opposition’s might have.
“Every manager takes every game ultra seriously,” he said.
“You can’t define whether the players add to that slightly by playing a team who are at the top.
“But I don’t think it’s a focus of ours, I think it’s just a natural fact that if you’re showing signs of being a very good sign of being a very good side, which I think most people outside of our world have commented on ... you can only presume that with the fans and the opposition it adds a bit more weight to it because of where you’re standing in the league.”
Dyche has discussed the possible side effects of being out in front with his players, but refuses to over-emphasise or dwell on it.
“We just generally chat as a group that there will be requirements anyway, regardless of your league position,” he said.
“It just happens when you’re up there it just sometimes adds a bit more flavour to it with the crowd, when you’re away from home, and sometimes the team responds.
“But that’s part and parcel of the challenges of growing as a group and maturing as a group and improving.
“That’s the way it is.
“It’s up to them (the opposition) what they think, I’m more interested in what we think and our mentality and our form going into that game.
“It all depends on the players turning up to deliver a performance when that whistle blows.
“All the training they put in is to get ready for that. That’s all we set our next marker as, is being ready for that performance to go and win.”
He added: “I think every manager prepares correctly and appropriately for anyone they’re playing.
“We certainly do, so I can only imagine that others do.”
With that in mind, it goes without saying the Dyche has done his homework on Ipswich.
He will perhaps be aware that Burnley have only won once there in 19 visits since the 1960s, but he won’t get bogged down by those sort of statistics.
“They’ve obviously performed at home in lieu of their results away,” he said. “It seems they’ve had that slight imbalance to their season so far in doing well at home and not quite getting the results they were looking for away.
“It’s another real challenge for us.
“Any club in the Championship fancies themselves at home, so they’re just another club that will do and we’ve got to go there prepared as a group and deliver a good performance.”
Dyche is all about the here and now, and the immediate future, going game to game.
With home games against second placed QPR and Premier League West Ham in the League Cup to follow, he wants to begin the next phase of the season after a fortnight’s break fresh and on the front foot – starting where they left off, and as they mean to go on.
“When we went into the fortnight with a lot of games having gone through the cup and with our squad being the numbers that it is, the same players often ended up playing,” said the 42-year-old.
“The balance to that is of course good momentum, a good run of wins going into the next game, and then that slows down for the international break.
“But on this occasion I’ve certainly been looking at it as a good chance to have a break physically. They’ve still done some work in between but they’ve had a few days off to recover any knocks and bruises and be prepared for the next run of games.
“There were a number of players who disappeared on international duty, and with a few knocks and bruises along the way we were down to probably eight to 10 players training.”
But, barring long-term casualty Ross Wallace, Dyche expects to be back to full strength at Portman Road today after Wales striker Sam Vokes and new England Under 21 Danny Ings gave the Clarets a scare with minor ankle injuries on international duty.
“Vokesy managed to get 20 minutes the other night so he’s fit and moving well,” said the Burnley boss. “Ingsy was more a precaution (missing the second England Under 21 game). They had a big squad so they wanted to be careful, so that was a sort of a positive, the way they let Ingsy come out of training.
“Tripps (Kieran Trippier) has had a knock but that’s settled down.”
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