CLARETS boss Sean Dyche is determined to meet the demands of Burnley’s current lull in form head-on.
After one win in eight games, Burnley lie eight points from sixth place ahead of the weekend fixtures, with the Clarets interested observers before they take on Hull City at Turf Moor on Monday night.
After the high of hitting seventh place at the end of January with a 2-0 win at Millwall, Burnley are now 11th, having dropped off the pace of late.
Dyche is eager to rekindle the form that brought four wins from five to drive the Clarets into contention, and he said: “The demand in football is quite apparent, but you need to be realistic.
“It’s a reflection of everything now in life now, we want it top quality, cheap and delivered yesterday.
“So it’s not just about football, we’re in a ‘now culture’.
“The reality is we’re working with young players, trying to develop them and mould them after two years of working with someone else.
“We’re trying to get the best out of them, and it can’t always be happy, glory days.
“There will be testing times, but it’s the same group that was structured and effective, with nine clean sheets when we couldn’t buy one before.
“Now people are baying for more goals, and there will be more challenges after that.
“The expectation is massive, and maybe there still is an element who feel the club should still be in the Premier League or right at the top end of the Championship.
“The challenge is obvious, there will be ups and downs, and we are up against clubs who are throwing millions at it, so it is up to us to outperform them. Everyone wants to play that Barcelona-type game, great passing football, clean sheets, fantastic players, while developing young players - all at once.
“It’s a tough challenge, but we’re working hard to try and deliver.”
Sections of the support have been disgruntled with recent performances, particularly at home, and he added: “The fans make the decisions as to the culture of the club, the expectations, but we work within our resources, we work hard to try and find that balance between clean sheets, scoring goals, playing the right way - moving the ball quickly, between the units and posing a threat.
“It’s only the last few games where there have been ups and downs - the performance level had been steady before that, but it coincides with our injuries.
“If fans’ expectation levels are high, that’s what it is, and we all take responsibility to try and match that.
“If they feel we should be right up there pushing, demanding that delivery status, and we have to try and deliver that.”
Dyche has looked back at the last couple of seasons for clues - this time last year Burnley won one in 10, having won four of 12 the previous season over this period.
The Clarets tended to struggle over the Christmas and New Year period, but that now appears to have shifted, and Dyche said: “I had a look to see if it was historical or a one-off, to put it in the melting pot to get a feel of what’s been before and what needs to change going forward.
“The last two years at this stage have seen a strange set of results before coming back and levelling off.
“I wanted to register that and look to change that next year, whether that’s personnel, mentality or whatever.
“In terms of the home form, before we came here the side was better away from home for some reason - is that because of the expectation?
“But we’re going into every game wanting to win, and meet those challenges, although it’s not easy to do that over 46 games.
“Even Cardiff are having a strange period.
“They looked to be steam-rolling their way to promotion but have lost two and drawn one of their last four games.
“Look at the resources they have, the player base, and even they are having this weird period you wouldn’t have called.
“Palace had two wins in 14, Leicester recently lost three on the spin, and you can look at Blackburn, even Hull had a couple of losses out of the blue.
“You are looking for a constant consistency, and it’s hard to achieve.
“But the best even come in for criticism - look at rafa Benitez, he’s being hammered at the moment and he’s won nine titles, but people deem him to not know what he’s doing.
“This is football though, we love the game, the challenge - it’s an addiction.”
Dyche has had chance to look again at Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at home to Barnsley, and while he still accepts his side were not at their best, he is still scratching his head at some of referee Carl Boyeson’s decisions.
Both Stephen Foster and Jacob Mellis could have seen red for the visitors, while Charlie Austin had claims for what looked a cast-iron penalty ignored: “It’s a tough one, I don’t want to be harping on about referees, but that was beyond compare.
“I think we had a rough ride with the decisions.
“We weren’t firing on all cylinders, but I think any of those decisions going in our favour would have settled everything down - two sending-offs, Charlie’s penalty - it changes the outlook of the game and the feel.
“At some point I hope we get one our way.
“But that was the most obvious set of decisions I’ve even seen go against a team of mine - even their bench felt they were fortunate to get away with some of them.”
Ahead of Monday night, Dean Marney has trained this week, but his calf is still tight, and Michael Duff and Ben Mee have trained.
Ross Wallace is back doing work with the physio after his knee injury, but is yet to join in full training.