Sean Dyche accepts it is tough to find the right balance between managing his squad and winning games in both the Europa and Premier League.
But his Burnley side remain unbeaten in both so far this season, ahead of tomorrow night’s second leg Europa tie with Istanbul Başakşehir at Turf Moor.
The Clarets have knocked out Aberdeen 4-2 on aggregate, before a goalless draw in Istanbul, which was backed up by a 0-0 draw at Southampton in Sunday’s Premier League opener.
Dyche made six changes in Istanbul from the previous round, and another four at St Mary’s, and is likely to make changes again tomorrow, and said: “It makes it more difficult because of the timing, I think.
“If you’re up and running, and the players get into that rhythm of playing constant games, whether it’s Saturday-Tuesday in the Championship or Thursday-Sunday currently for us.
“It’s slightly different but the point is you start the end of pre-season almost before players are properly up and running, so therefore we’re just being a bit more careful that we normally would.
“As everyone knows, I think the players are fit and well, they get supported fantastically, so we get on with it and we play the team every game that we think is right.
“With this, I think we’re playing teams that are right but I think we’re also playing teams that are balanced in lieu of what we’re going to need for the next game going into the league programme last week at Southampton and then continuing the league programme obviously this Sunday against Watford.
“So there has to be a balance and I think it’s hard to find the balance but that’s what we’re looking to do.”
But he is pleased with how his players have responded to the Thursday-Sunday routine so far: “New demands on us, particularly the games at the end of pre-season, which are real games, of course.
“I think actually having gone through it now, the only thing that is probably the biggest challenge is the fact we have been diluted with injuries and not getting all the players that we hoped.
“If we had no injuries and the players in, I think the games would be terrific for us because then you can get a whole group who are absolutely up to speed with that real competitive football because every manager, every player knows that you have to have pre-season games of course and they’re very valid.
“But there’s only the odd one that really plays at the real tempo and the real demand of what it feels like when the real whistle blows, so to speak.
“I think Europa League games have given us that because of the ties actually. A lot of noise about the Aberdeen game and both sets of supporters really up for it.
“Going over to Turkey, slightly different feel over there and then obviously Southampton in-between.
“I think the players have used that to get up to that competitive level. The obvious challenge is because of the games possibly we’ve had a few injuries that we could have done without and also we didn’t get the players in, that’s nothing to do that, we were hoping for, or not all we were hoping
“In which case the squad would be slightly deeper, so I think there’s a balance really, but we’ve come through it well I think.
“I’ve been pleased with the performances and obviously inevitably the main goal or the main challenge is the Premier League again for us and I was really pleased with the first performance of the season down at Southampton.”
Dyche has players returning to fitness in Tom Heaton and new signing Matej Vydra, though neither are registered for tomorrow’s tie: “Vyds is catching up. He hasn’t played a lot of football at Derby in the pre-season and hadn’t trained with he first-team as much probably as you normally would.
“So he’ll be playing catch-up. He managed a game in on Monday, he’ll get another game the next week and training with the players.
“But like anyone, we’ve got to make sure there is appropriate timing, not push too hard to make sure he gets fit and into the speed of things at a good enough pace, don’t get me wrong, because we need bodies at the moment, but not where he’s going to break himself so we’re being careful with that.”
And he admitted Nahki Wells could still head out on loan, it could also stay and fight for a shirt: “Just ongoing. Nakhi is fighting for his chance to play and there’s been a bit of interest in him from outside, but we haven’t made a decision on that. Neither has he. We’re very open with our players, knowing what’s right for them and what’s right for us.”