Burnley boss Dyche hails professionalism after Europa League victory
Sean Dyche was pleased with the professionalism of his players as Burnley claimed a place in the Europa League play-off against Olympiakos.
Dyche made six changes from Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Southampton, but again shut out Istanbul BaÅŸakÅŸehir to advance 1-0 on aggregate, with a Jack Cork goal in extra time.
And he hailed the performances of centre backs Kevin Long and Ben Gibson, making his debut, as well as striker Ashley Barnes, stand in skipper Ashley Westwood and Jeff Hendrick: “I thought I made a lot of the display of the team first of all, we made six changes, the physicality of the side was unbelievable.
“We scored in the 97th minute from pressing their goalkeeper, so I’m more interested in the side I put out, I thought the work ethic, the shape of the team, some bits of good play and the details were very good.
“I think we should have been 2-0 up early on from good chances, a lot of good things again
“We work on a squad mentality here and a lot of it was on show again tonight.
“I thought there were a lot of really big performances out there.
“Ashley Barnes had an interrupted pre-season and gets stronger and stronger as the game went on, Westy was excellent, I thought the two centre halves were absolutely top class.
“I thought Jeff Hendrick was absolutely tremendous. Sometimes the fans can question him, but he was tremendous. And Joe definitely played his part in it.”
Dyche has rotated his squad to good effect to negotiate the qualifying rounds so far, and he added: “We maintain good standards. We’re still searching for the balance of how much we can dominate the ball and how much we can stay in the game when we need to.
“There was a good mixture of it, because we did have to stay in the game at times, as we’ve done many times.
“I’ve been here six years and we’ve had ‘we had more of the ball, we had more shots’, but sometimes it needs more than that to win a game.
“I’d be questioning how many times we missed, but anyway, c’est la vie.
“The mentality is strong, it’s strange to have that many games and only one in the league.
“The league remains the focus for us, but you can see a group that is very high in its standards.
“Charlie Taylor has done well, played left wing, he has played there before but not many times, but we’re short with Robbie still returning from injury.
“We’re moulding a side out of a few days’ work so therefore the prep time, and then the performance I thought was very good.”
Cork netted in the last round against Aberdeen, and had a goal harshly ruled out for offside at Southampton as well, and has returned in great nick: “Fantastic goals, both of them. Sublime goal.
“That’s something we maybe don’t get enough credit for because that’s a fantastic goal. If that’s a more trendy name than Jack Cork in the Premier League, it would be raved about.
“And he meant it.
“The fact that we get players talked about here, not just English, there are players getting mentioned here and they are earning the right to be mentioned.”
Burnley have scored just once in the last 300 minutes however, and Dyche accepts there are improvements to be made: “We’re a work in progress in the top third. The top third of the pitch is always the hardest, particularly in the Premier League, playing against very good sides.
“Very difficult to be clinical, precise, to be calm. It’s a continued work in progress.
“The rest of the pitch we’re very good at, we know how to work from our shape, we don’t get flummoxed, we stick to what we’re good at, and still have moments of quality.”
Burnley fans can now book their flights and hotels in Athens, as the European tour continues: “The fans were screaming it all last season, so at least we’re trying to give them a bit of it.
“I’m sure they’ll be a good side.
“We’re in the competition as novices but so far the novices are doing okay, at least.
“We’ll see what we make of it, but so far we’ve given a good account of ourselves.”