Dyche learned vital lessons with Robins

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche
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Sean Dyche accepts things didn't go to plan on a personal level for him at Bristol City.

But he admits his experience with today's FA Cup fourth round opponents helped mould him into a successful manager.

After seven years with Chesterfield, culminating in a famous cup semi-final with Middlesbrough, as the Spireites came agonisingly close to arguably one of the biggest upsets in modern times, Dyche left for Ashton Gate in the summer of 1997.

The Robins would be promoted to the second tier of English football in his first season, but Dyche made only 12 appearances due to injury, and after eight the next, he was off on loan to Luton Town, before joining Millwall.

Dyche said: "Unfortunately it didn’t work out for me there. It worked out for the team - I joined in the first season as they got promoted, but I had a back injury and it just didn’t work out for me as a player, it sometimes happens.

"I’ve always said I learned more from two years there of it not going right than I did from the rest of my career.

"It was invaluable to understand more about myself, the game, players, fans and dealing with everything, and that has been massively helpful for me when I became a manager."

His rival in the dugout tomorrow, Lee Johnson, is also learning from a sticky spell at present, with City enduring a club record eight successive league defeats: "I think all managers are learning all the time, whether it’s a good run or a bad run.

"I’m a great believer in how do you handle success and tough times, you get them as a manager, you’ve got to take it, move forward, get your players ready and go and play games and try and win them to stay in a job.

"Sometimes handling success can be awkward. Not getting too carried away, you realise around the corner is a possible loss or a bad run.

"There’s a balance there and I think Lee will know it himself. He’ll know what his team is going through and I’m sure he’ll have a plan to change their fortunes."

But Dyche knows the cup can be a leveller: "They’re having an awkward run at the minute but they started the season fantastically well.

"We’re not going to overthink their league record at the moment because we know the cup is different sometimes and players can come with a different attitude sometimes."

Burnley were knocked out of the EFL Cup down the road at League 2 Accrington back in August, and, asked what lessons were learned that night, Dyche smiled: "Get a better referee!

"There were a couple of interesting tackles that night. It’s not just the cup, by the way. It’s magnified in a cup game, but league games can be like that.

"You can dominate a game. The stats on the game were so powerful that if you took the score away and looked at the stats, you wouldn’t believe that we lost that game. But it happens. So the only thing you can learn is the reality of football. Don’t take anything for granted, which we didn’t, by the way. You need every detail right, and sometimes you need people to do their jobs that are outside of yours. That’s just part of football."