Dyche ready to upset the doubters with the Clarets
Clarets boss Sean Dyche knows being Championship winners won't alter the fact many pundits '“ and the bookmakers '“ will again have Burnley down as relegation favourites.
But Dyche intends to use the lessons of the Clarets’ last season in the Premier League to try and stay up at the third attempt this term.
Burnley were promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 2009 via the play-offs, and ultimately finished 18th, having been written off before a ball was kicked.
And having earned a return to the big league in 2014 as Championship runners-up, they were similarly long shots to retain their status, before being relegated with three games remaining, finishing 19th.
The Clarets are 4/5 on to return to the Championship this time, favourites for the drop, despite lifting “The Lady” last month, finishing ahead of Middlesbrough and play-off winners Hull City.
Even with the biggest-ever Premier League pay day on offer, those odds will be based on the clubs’ likely budgets, with Burnley’s again likely to be one of, if not the lowest.
But Dyche knows it isn’t always about the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog.
He said: “We’ll be written off immediately, we know that.
“As champions they’ll say ‘they won’t do this, they won’t do that’, the usual, but that’s part of the game we love.
“It’s all about opinion, the idea, the thought, discussion, it’s all part of what the game is.
“We believe in what we do here and we’ll look to affect things during the summer and into the pre-season and we’ll see where we go with it.”
Plans are now being formulated to move the club on on the pitch, as things move forward at a lightning pace off it, at the Barnfield Training Centre at Gawthorpe in particular, and, having got over the line, finishing four points clear as Championship champions, finishing the season 23 games unbeaten in the league, Dyche added: “First things first, we had to get this done, and now we’ve got it done so it’ll be time to relax and make sense of this before we start building again.”
The challenge is not so new this time around, for either Dyche or several of his players.
Only Andre Gray, James Tarkowski, Rouwen Hennings, Tendayi Darikwa and Chris Long have not played at that level before – though Long made one Europa League appearance with Everton.
Dyche noted: “The experience is there to reflect on and use wisely. I think myself, my staff, some of the players who were there two years ago will have an understanding of the challenge, but they’ll also know that it’s an enormous challenge.
“We took it on and gave a right good go at it last time round.
“We’ll learn from that hopefully and shift it forward, but we still want the key core values of the side to remain because they give you everything and that’s a good starting point.”