Burnley midfielder Jack Cork has labelled boss Sean Dyche as one of the best in the business.
The 28-year-old, who worked with the Clarets chief for a stint at Vicarage Road in 2009, was reunited with the former Watford defender in the summer when arriving at Turf Moor from Swansea City in a £10m deal.
The Chelsea trainee, who had loan spells at six different clubs, including the Clarets, during his stay at Stamford Bridge, has played every minute of the Premier League campaign so far this term and was awarded the man of the match accolade against Newcastle United on Dyche’s five-year anniversary.
With Burnley riding high in the top flight, and Dyche naturally attracting attention from rival clubs, Cork said: “He has done unbelievable since he’s come in with two promotions, given the time to bring a team back after relegation and then establishing the club in the Premier League.
“He’s done a great job on probably a tighter budget than most clubs. He deserves all the praise that he’s getting, he’s been great with me since I came here and I’m really enjoying working with him.
“He just gives everyone confidence, gives all the players trust and lets us know that the minimum requirement is hard work.
“If you’re not playing well you’ve just got to keep working hard and doing your thing. He wants us to get on the ball, relax and just play football.
“He encourages us to believe in ourselves. It’s been great to be a part of it and work with him.
“I had a brief spell working with him at Watford so to get this chance to work with him full time is great. Everyone said good things about him before I came and it’s been proven right.
“He’s really close with us and puts a lot of trust in the lads. He brings that old school mentality and blends it with the new ideas.
“He brings them both together really well. He lets us go out there and express ourselves so we can show our quality on the pitch.
“The job he has done is unbelievable and he’s building on that. He’s one of the best at the minute.”
The one-time England under 21 international, who represented Great Britain in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, will return to St Mary’s tomorrow to take on his former employers.
Cork made 152 appearances in two spells for the Saints and featured in every league game under Nigel Adkins when Southampton were promoted to the Premier League as Championship runners up in 2012.
“I had great times,” he said. “Obviously getting promoted was one of the highlights of my career. It was an amazing experience.
“When you go through an experience like that you bond well and I’ve got a lot of good friends there.
“People that I worked with are now in different roles - some are playing, some staff, some on the board. It will be good to go back there and see them and try to get a result.
“We’ll be going there with confidence. We’ve only lost two games, one home and one away, so we’ve done well so far. We have to keep building on that.”
Cork added: “Our away form has been brilliant. Hopefully we can repeat what we have done against other teams in this league.
“It’s a tough league so it’s all about getting these points on the board. The lads have worked hard throughout every game this season. It’s been a great achievement so far and we need to keep going.
“With a quarter of the season done 16 points is probably a lot more than you would have set a target of.
“It’s put us in a great position to keep going and we need to keep building on that. We know that we can’t relax and hopefully we can take this positive form in to the next part of this year.”