Ahead of tomorrow’s Lancashire derby with Blackpool at Turf Moor, Clarets boss Sean Dyche has railed against bizarre claims that his players “look short of fitness”.
One national newspaper on Sunday made the suggestion after the 1-1 draw at Leicester City the previous day.
Dyche was baffled by the insinuation: “I saw there was something in the media about fitness issues, and it was probably someone who hasn’t seen us on a regular basis.
“It’s well documented how fit the lads are, so that was very interesting.
“We were going very strong second half, and the statistics since have proved that.
“We’re very happy with the fitness of the players, their energy and application, and we are looking to increase that further in the second half of the season.”
Burnley’s high-energy pressing and squad size are being used to imply the side will fall off the pace in the second half of the campaign, but Dyche added: “The fitness of the players bodes well, and we are really looking forward to the second half of the season.
“The players have shown they can go hard in any circumstances, whether they have their backs to the wall, or or playing free-flowing attacking football.”
Michael Duff concurred, saying after the draw at the King Power Stadium: “The gaffer’s into the sports science side.
“There’s a demand from the players on each other every day.
“Every day you work hard, the players demand from each other.
“I think that’s all the way through the club.
“That one way thinking starts from the top.”
Asked if it is the fittest side he’s played in, Duff said: “I think so. I think the stats will back that up. Every Monday you get a debrief and the fitness data is always very good.”
It was also suggested that Danny Ings is struggling with the ankle problem that kept him out of the Watford game, but after starting the following two matches, Dyche explained: “People are trying to make a story out of it, but he has come through well, as has Dean Marney.”