Burnley boss Sean Dyche isn’t a betting man, but he’ll be looking to defy the odds every week in the Premier League.
The Clarets have rarely been enlisted as ‘favourites’ by bookmakers this term and it’s highly unlikely that anything will change as the calendar year culminates.
Dyche’s side have been tagged as the ‘underdogs’, and they’ll take that perennial stamp in to festive fixtures against Spurs at White Hart Lane, Liverpool at Turf Moor on Boxing Day and Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
After a national publication suggested that Southampton had lost to ‘struggling Burnley’, Dyche said: “I think someone wrote about that the other week. I didn’t say anything about that, I was saying that I think people will probably take us a bit more seriously than they did in the first 10.
“It doesn’t mean we’re not underdogs. We’re going to White Hart Lane, there’s only one favourite, we’re playing Liverpool, there’s only one favourite, we’re playing Man City, there’s one favourite.
“I’m not doing us down, but there is. If you walk into any bookies they will be favourite. I think there was a rare game when we played Hull, I think, and we weren’t the underdogs. That’s one game in 16.
“So there lies the truth, bookies rarely get it wrong with that sort of stuff. We’re still underdogs, all I’m saying is we’re maybe a bit more serious underdogs than maybe people thought at first.
“That’s from the outside. I don’t remotely think there’s a manager out there looking at it like that. That’s the outside view. Managers and professionals know they have to be on their guard and they have to play well.”
Mauricio Pochettino’s side cruised in to the semi-final of the Capital One Cup midweek with a 4-0 win over Newcastle United, which included another goal from in-form striker Harry Kane.
“He’s a good young player,” he said. “I’ve known about Harry for a while. It was documented early season that the fans certainly wanted him playing for them and he was coming off the bench, nicked a few goals and he nicked another one yesterday.
“Obviously it would be nice if Danny Ings is thriving more on this occasion. Danny on our side has been doing really well and looking nice and sharp. It certainly goes beyond two players though at any level, but certainly in the Premier League. It’s down to the whole team to perform.”
Dyche added: “It’s just beneficial if we can play our part in promoting the English players because we know it’s becoming a harder market to get English players playing, particularly at the top level.
“I know what the FA, Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington are trying to achieve and if we can have a little part in that bigger picture then fantastic.”