Dyche's man management gave me a boost - Taylor
Football managers have their hands full trying to pick a winning side, tactically well equipped in the ideal formation.
But man management is every bit as important - getting the best out of players, helping them deal with disappointments, dealing with differing personalities and egos, and keeping everyone in the squad as happy as possible.
While Sean Dyche has won many plaudits for the way he sets his team up, the culture he has engendered at the training ground and the respect in which he is held by his players is equally impressive.
He has made the fewest changes to his starting lineup than any other Premier League boss this season, and that means some players are going to be frustrated at not playing regularly.
Summer signing Charlie Taylor is a key case in point.
Brought in from Leeds United, Taylor has had to watch on as Stephen Ward has continued his consistently impressive performances at left back.
Taylor, indeed, has often not even been in the match day 18, due to the makeup of the bench.
Dyche made sure everyone knew what he thought of Taylor though, constantly referencing his attitude and work on the training ground, saying: “Believe me, he is moving forward in his career, and I’ve told him that.”
Taylor admits the motivational words in the media helped: “Yeah, that gave me a boost.
“It’s quite hard. You do get down a bit.
“When you see that, it does boost your confidence, and gives you hope.”
Restricted to two appearances in the Carabao Cup, did he feel he was progressing though?: “Yeah. You’re training with better players and it’s better quality, so you’re improving every day.
“There’s a step up in the fitness and just all round really. Training’s a lot harder. It’s a step up in standards. You improve with it.”
With the team doing as well as it has all season, some of the players on the fringes could have few complaints at finding it difficult to break through.
But Dyche seems to have found a way to make sure the whole squad feels a part of the success.
Asked how the manager does that, Taylor said: “I think a combination of things really. His man management, his training and the coaching staff he’s got behind him.
“Just every day in training and round the place, they make it more of a collectiveness and a team effort rather than just the XI that play.
“Ashley Barnes came on for us on Tuesday. He’s done that a few times this season and gained us valuable points.
“You’re in and around it every day, taking part in it and getting the benefits as well.
“And I think the manager’s fair here. He picks the players on form. Tarky’s a great example, and there are many more. Popey’s come in and done brilliantly. It gives players out of the team hope to look at them and sets an example.”
Within seconds of making his Premier League debut as a substitute for the injured Ward against Stoke City on Tuesday night, Taylor was closing down one of the most gifted players in the league in Xherdan Shaqiri, formerly of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan, but he wasn’t fazed: “It’s the best league in the world, isn’t it? You come on and you’ve got one of the best right wingers in the Premier League up against you. It’s hard, but it’s where you want to be, and you’ve got to test yourself against the best.”