MICHAEL Duff has backed manager Sean Dyche to climb to the top of his profession after building an “unbelievable” Burnley team.
Already promoted, the Clarets enhanced their achievements this season by hitting the 90-point mark for the first time.
The Clarets had set a new club points record with the 2-0 win over Wigan Athletic which secured their place in the Premier League on Easter Monday.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Ipswich, which ended Town’s play-off bid, took them to 92 points – equalling the division’s best return by runners-up thanks to Michael Kightly’s third goal in three games.
But with Dyche demanding even more from his players from their remaining game at Reading, Duff says such drive means there is more to come after promotion.
“He’s a top manager obviously because of what he’s done this season,” said the defender.
“He can have a laugh with you but when it’s work time it’s work time. I think anyone who comes and watches us train would see that.
“He’s quite a funny bloke when he wants to be and he’s got a jovial side but the team reflect his (hardworking) personality.
“When the gaffer was saying it’s game by game, it genuinely was.
“It was that group mentality, we thought the same as the manager.
“We played how we wanted us to play and I think that’s why it’s been such a good knit.
“It’s an unbelievable team he’s built, and he’ll definitely go right to the top.”
Duff added: “At the start of the season he said ‘I want us to be competitive in every game, I want us to be hard to beat, hard working and competitive looking to win every game’.
“That snowballs. In September we were in the top two.
“The league is relentless, they come thick and fast, and to only lose five games in 45 is an unbelievable achievement really.”
And for that reason Duff, who won the Championship play-offs with Burnley in 2009, said it must go down as the bigger feat.
“I think this season has got to be seen as better really because of being around the top since August and everyone expecting us to go away,” said Duff, who contributed to a 21st clean sheet for the Clarets.
“Players talk to players, and speaking to players in the last week or two and they said themselves that they expected us to fall away. Everyone did. But we’ve almost got stronger.
“Someone said we stumbled over the line. Second or third in the form table, that’s not a bad stumble.
“It’s been a fantastic achievement and it’s because of the consistency.
“Last time when we got promoted we were almost like a cup team. We did unbelievable in the FA Cup, the Carling Cup and sort of just sneaked our way into the play-offs – sort of a cup competition in itself.
“I’m not taking anything away from that, but I think to show the consistency we have this season has been brilliant