Burnley boss Dyche - strong pre-season paid us back

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche felt a strong pre-season paid his players back in style on the opening day of the season.

Burnley claimed a 3-0 win over Southampton at Turf Moor, with second half goals from Ashley Barnes, who netted twice, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

The Clarets looked fit and strong, in appalling conditions, with a swirling wind and incessant rain, and Dyche said: “Really good start, really pleasing start.

“The players have got their reward for a very strong pre-season, not just results, the way they’ve come back.

“There has been a strong desire, super fitness level, just on day one, let alone as we’ve worked in pre-season.

“I think there is an intent about the group. The Premier League is a tough league, and you are always looking to push the odds in your favour, and it is a great start point if you have a fully fit group of players, who are very motivated.

“We’ve worked as hard as we can in the market with our resources, which we always know is difficult, but I think we’ve found a good balance to get the team with a competitive edge.

“So a lot of good things. It culminates in a big win, a first win, a very important win, but a long way to go.”

It looked for a long time that one goal might win it, and Dyche added: “It was a tight game today and often we are in tight games.

“You can’t always guarantee it ends up like that today, I’ve had good, bad and indifferent pre-seasons.

“Nothing in it first half, it was really tough out there, the ball was going all over the place.

“We both played middle-of-the-pitch football, not too much goalmouth action, and second half we asked more questions of them, and managed to break them down with a very good goal from Barnesy, he watched the flight of it and then touch and hit, a tough skill.

“The second goal was a really good goal, the build up, calmness and a finish, and then another good goal from Johann.

“In the end we deserved to win it, but it was a tight game up until probably 60/65 minutes, but we got the goal and didn’t sit back on it, we carried on and the rest is history.”

Dyche admitted before the game he had a few tough selection decisions, and Erik Pieters made a debut ahead of Charlie Taylor, while Jay Rodriguez had to settle for a place on the bench.

Promisingly, deadline day signing Danny Drinkwater looks set to make an immediate impact: “Chas (Taylor) missed two really important weeks when we were in Portugal, and he’s still catching up a little, but Erik has laid down a real marker, he’s come in with that real edge, not expecting to play but not expecting not to play, he’s had a real open mind.

“Jay, we have two strikers who were terrific for us last year, both got goals.

“He will get plenty of football, I’m sure of that.

“I like the combinations, they can all interact, we've seen that in pre-season.

“And Drinky is fit. We’ve tested him and he’s fit.

“We weren’t going to throw him in today, and he knows he’s got work now. He will have watched that today and thought, game on.

“We want competition in house. It has to be respectful, and there’s a bundle of respect for each other here.

“We have been as effective as we can with limited resources.”