Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits Burnley’s chances of Premier League survival sit in the land of “myths, legends and folklore.”
His side went down 1-0 at West Ham on Saturday, to a Mark Noble penalty, after Michael Duff was harshly dismissed for felling Cheikou Kouyate midway through the first half.
That leaves Burnley eight points adrift of safety with nine points to play for, but Dyche isn’t giving up: “It makes it a big mountain to climb now, you’re going into myths, legends and folklore.
“But I’ve never thrown the towel in in my career, in life, like many people, you bounce off the ropes and come back and take another one.
“I’m a realist, I don’t do blind faith, nonsense, I speak to the players, positive realities I call it.
“It’s always been about the next game, and we have a group of players who give everything for the cause, it’s whether we can keep creating and take the chances and see where it takes us.”
Dyche was far from happy at the decision to send Duff off for what was deemed a professional foul, despite Jason Shackell and Scott Arfield covering, and Kouyate going across the area rather than straight at goal: “It’s a penalty, but I’m amazed it’s a sending off. I think there’s a stadium full of people who were very surprised, I can only imagine their manager was surprised, my staff, my subs, the groundsman...
“Other than that...
“I’ve seen it back, I’m amazed, it’s a massive moment in a game we needed to win.
“We started brightly, we created chances, the game was evening out, becoming a real game.
“It started slow, but it was taking some kind of shape, and that changes everything.
“It’s hard enough to win games 11 against 11 at this level, for us certainly, but 10 v 11 is very difficult.
“It’s a real sadness to me that, at this stage of the season, these vital games, I’m having to talk about a referee’s decision, which quite obviously turned the way the game was going.
“I asked the ref after the game and he said he was ready to shoot and score.”
Dyche is mulling an appeal: “We’re all unsure how that pans out, we might do, we’ll focus on it with a bit more detail. I didn’t think it was in the moment, and watching it back, I’m very surprised. He’s not even got it under control, though I have no problem with the fact it’s a penalty.”
Burnley had chances to snatch something, although they were also thankful for a profligate home side, and the heroics of Tom Heaton and his defenders: “I thought we’ve gone for it again with 10, we got our two strikers back up front and it nearly paid off.
“They had chances, but you expect that 10 v 11 at this level, especially away from home.
“Ingsy had a chance when he broke through, lovely touch to break into the box, Matty Taylor...you’re thinking ‘is it going to be?’
“They had a couple of chances, but the sending off changes the whole feel of the game and the outcome.”
Ultimately, Burnley have fallen the wrong side of tight margins too often though, and much will rest on two disappointing transfer windows.
Dyche said of the challenge: “There was a way the club wanted to work, I understand it, it’s tough, it’s a tough market to work with low money and finance, whether it’s wages or fees, but the club have to look after the club.
“It was in real trouble two years ago, and a decision was made.
“My job is to maximise that moment, in terms of bringing players in, and we’ve had to develop a team as we go along on this journey and that’s a tougher ask.
“That’s been part of the challenge.”
Dyche hopes to have Sam Vokes available at Hull on Saturday after missing the last two games with a thigh problem: “Hopefully Vokesey will be right next week, he’s got a minor injury, and we’ve got to make sure it clear up.”