Having been accused of “anti-football” by Chelsea centre back David Luiz, Burnley boss Sean Dyche is delighted with the way his side are scoring, rather than fighting, their way to Premier League safety.
The Clarets have picked up 28 points from 16 games - including one from a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Monday - to effectively ensure a fourth-successive season in the top flight.
They sit fifth in terms of form over the second half of the season, and in that time have only been outscored by Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal.
Dyche isn’t relaxing until Burnley are mathematically safe, but, nine points clear of Cardiff with a goal difference 17 better, he admits: “We’re virtually there. It’s never done until it’s actually done, but it’s a super strong position.
“Very pleasing. A reward for a very strong second half of the season, which we want to continue of course. “The players deserve a lot of credit - 28 points from 16 games is a massive return, especially when you only have 12 from the first 19, which is a huge adjustment, that we had to make.
“The players deserve credit, because they’ve carried out everything needed to get those points.
“And we’ve outscored Tottenham, Chelsea, Man United, in those games. It’s not trying to fight our way out of it, we’ve scored our way out of it, which is even more pleasing.
“So a lot of good work done by the players. We still want to finish right, we want to continue the form we’re in.”
While the goal return has been impressive, what else has changed?: “We are one of those sides who sits on fine margins. Open enough to score goals, and tight enough to not concede that many, to try and win and get enough points on the board.
“In the first half of the season, I spoke of the consistency within a performance, not just game by game.
“We has a few early in the season where we were good for a half, 60 minutes, and then not good enough for the rest of the game.
“The simple basic principles of what we have been about, weren’t quite there, our running stats weren’t there.
“The details within your shape, your habits, weren’t as clear minded as they had been.
“Since the turn, our running stats have been superb.
“We finish every season here strong, physically. Our physical stats from Christmas onwards have been very strong.
“I knew we could go better. It’s a very important factor in the Premier League.
“I don’t think there’s one thing that’s turned the corner, I think there’s a number of things. We want to continue and see the season out properly.”
To do that will be difficult, bearing in mind the last three games are against Manchester City, Everton and Arsenal.
Burnley fans looked at their late few games and wondered if they would have to be safe beforehand, but they can now enjoy those occasions.
On the back of a 2-2 draw at Chelsea, Dyche said: “They are an enjoyable three games from a fan view because at Christmas most would have thought we needed snookers!
“But we’ve been close with a lot of the big sides.
“We got a point at Chelsea, a point at United which could have been three, still not sure where five minutes came from.
“From the turn we have been in all the games.
“But City are a top side. You have to be on top of your performance levels.
“You need the odd bit of luck, you might need a decision but you have to focus on performance.
“They are a top side, they have shown that. They have the demand to win the title, we have a different one. “That can be a weapon, you can’t relax but there’s a tiny bit of freedom.
“We want to win and prove we can at least challenge the elite.
“The top six this season are miles in front.
“It’s a big challenge one we look forward to. You have to defend well. I think we can, I think we have done.
“You have to take your chances, we did that at Chelsea.
“You don’t get that many. You have to bring that together. Defending well is a given.”