Sean Dyche had a wry smile as Manchester City stayed on track for successive Premier League titles with good game management at Turf Moor.
Burnley were accused of time-wasting and “anti-football” as they earned a point at Chelsea on Monday night.
But City were happy to take the sting out of the game at set pieces and substitutions, ending the game with six defenders on the pitch, trying to keep the ball in the corner of the pitch.
Dyche was delighted with his side’s performance in a 1-0 defeat, as Sergio Aguero netted the all-important goal after the break, but he smiled: “It’s a compliment I saw Pep Guardiola, with my own eyes, and heard him screaming ‘get it in the corner’!
“It just goes to show, even the best have to do it, see the game through, four centre halves on the pitch...
“If we’d done that, and we were fighting for our lives to stay in the Premier League, people would have been ‘oh, look at that!’
“But they do it as well, sometimes, and today was one of those times.”
He added: “There’s no angle to my words, I just thought it was refreshing to see a top manager screaming at his players, to get it in the corner.
“I think it’s a sign of him wanting to win, you have to do what you have to do, make no mistake.
“I think there were a few moments second half where the game seemed to slow down, I don’t know if you noticed, but you have to do what you have to do to win.
“But it is refreshing to know you can’t always win with beauty. They’ve seen the game through by putting it in the corner, killing the game and putting on four centre halves, walking off the pitch as slow as they can...
“I’ve no problem with it by the way, credit to them, they still have to do the details, the hard yards, the ugly side of the game to make sure they win a game.”
Asked whether it was anti-football, Dyche, however, said: “They are definitely not anti-football.
“No one is. Everyone wants to play the beautiful game but only some can.”
Pep Guardiola had mentioned in his press conference that: “The first half, the pitch was so dry and the ball had problems to move, the grass was high, it was an idea for them.”
But Dyche countered: “I’m certainly no weather man, I can assure you. Maybe Man City can control the weather as well, I certainly can’t. I don’t think there’s anything in that, we took on the game as best we could, and that it.”
Talking about his side’s performance, Dyche felt they continued the form over the second half of the campaign, having been mathematically assured of Premier League football the day before: “I thought we had a real go and that was pleasing from a mentality point of view, because, obviously, when we get factually safe, people will wonder how will that affect the performance.
“But I thought we took the game on against a top side, very technical side.
“We’re not going to beat them at their game, so we had to make it awkward, almost a cup tie feel, when the game feels completely different, and I thought we did that well.
“We didn’t find the effectiveness in the front third, which is difficult against these sides, but we had the big moment with Woody in the first half, and we’ve kept at it, defended fantastically well, and you end up close to getting something from the game.
“But obviously they’ve got some great players, really talented players, so we’re not disappointed with the performance, but disappointed not to get something from the game.”
Burnley, as shown at Chelsea, and in games against Manchester United and Spurs since Boxing Day, have troubled the big six, and Dyche added: “The big thing for me is the body language, the mentality to take it on, no matter who you’re playing - that’s been a big thing for us the second half of the season, and maybe first half of the season that was a bit cloudy.
“Now there’s a clarity to it, and the game plan was to deliberately make it as awkward as possible, and it nearly got something for us.
“We have to think differently, we haven’t got a list of marvellous players we can just put in any position, and change the shape, we have to work with the players, and they’ve learned again this season.
“Players have developed enormously through the season, so I’ve been really pleased.
“Overall, apart from finding those moments to win, generally they’ve had a good go against a top side