BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche didn’t necessarily need to do a pre-match team talk.
The Bolton programme might as well have done it for him.
In the visitors’ factfile section of “Wanderers”, edition 18, were the phrases: “Recent inconsistencies see the Clarets lie in second place at the time of writing”; “Burnley are in desperate need to rediscover their early season form”; “poor away form has proven costly as Burnley slowly loosened their hold on top spot”; “Ashley Barnes has failed to make much of an impact so far”.
Dyche and his players was understandably baffled by the words used. He would be forgiven for being annoyed.
But instead of getting angry, he got even, and used it as ammunition to fire his players up further.
“If you’re ever thinking to yourself that we haven’t got enough fuel as a group, we’re thinking let’s go again lads. It’s a local derby that goes beyond just the result. But then the programme gives you fuel as well,” said Dyche.
“I just thought it was a magic moment and I had to share it. I’m not trying to be flippant, but they’ve got to think ‘they’re coming to town, they’re wanting a result, it’s a local derby’ – it’s incredible.
“I must make it clear that it can’t win you a game, but it gives you an added fuel in a big game.”
He added: “I thought this was interesting from the ‘visitors’ column. We now face a fight apparently – this is little Burnley – with QPR for the automatic spot. We are in desperate need to rediscover our early season form.
“We have slowly loosened our hold on top spot. Ashley Barnes was brought in and has failed to make much of an impact.
“I think he’s played about 14 minutes so far. It’s also been fortunate for us that Sam Vokes and Danny Ings are in the form that they’re in.
“I took a few of the quotes and went up to a few of the lads and said that apparently we’re having a tough time. Then, at the bottom of the fact file, it says ‘league position second’. Not so drastic then. I thought it was bizarre and interesting to see how other people view what’s going on and how we’re doing.”
A 1-0 win at Bolton opened up a three-point gap in second for Burnley, over QPR in third following their defeat by the same scoreline at Derby County the night before.
“I thought the players showed a great resolve again against Bolton,” Dyche continued.
“I really think they’re a good side – they are where they are for whatever reason – but Tom (Heaton) didn’t have a lot to do, he hasn’t had big saves.
“He had one slip, which was a nervous one, but other than corners – and they had a threat from corners with the good physicality they’ve got with some big lads – I thought Tom was quiet overall.
“It’s great credit to the players again. For me it’s another big three points. They’re all big, no matter where you are, no matter what you do, because this division is madness at the best of times.
“Every three points you get are vital and valuable.”