Europe would be ‘a bonus on top of a bonus’

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche
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Sean Dyche admits qualifying for the Europa League would be "a bonus on top of a bonus."

But there will be no disappointment if the Clarets miss out on a first European campaign in 51 years, as the club continue to improve year on year on his watch.

Burnley have been no lower than seventh since the end of October, after round 10 of the Premier League season.

And should they finish in that slot, they will qualify for the Europa League, should any of the semi-finalists other than Southampton win the FA Cup.

They sit six points clear of Saturday's visitors to Turf Moor, Leicester City, who are eighth, and, asked if the fans would be disappointed not to qualify for Europe, Dyche said: "No, we've given them more than what they wanted, don't worry about that, they wanted Premier League football.

"Anything beyond that is just a bonus on top of a bonus.

"There's a good reality, I think, to the club, and I think the fans have bought into the honesty, from what we show them.

"They know we're not the real deal, but they do enjoy it when we are delivering performances like we are, and then if they're not, they accept the fact we are what we are, we're still improving, still looking to learn.

"I think they've bought into that.

"It's a pleasing mentality, in an industry that wants everything in a week.

"There's been a good amount of patience, I think, from our fans, both home and away."

Dyche accepts Europe was far from his thinking before the season, though he believed his players could improve on the 16th place and 40 points they achieved last season: "No. The big thing for me, can you improve on last season. I thought we could, with the style we play we could still be effective, and I'm pleased we have been.

"But sometimes it's not about you, you might be doing well, but others out there are doing better.

"But I looked at them in pre-season and thought we were stronger, and we can move forward.

"I think the style, the mentality keeps improving, signings...trying to just lift that a little bit and add more quality, and I think that's been on show.

"We're not the real deal, but we are improving, and that was a big thing for me. Season on season, can you improve? Can you get better as individuals, collectively? Can I and my staff get better?

"We work on that, we talk about that a lot, there's real clear signs of that."

Chairman Mike Garlick admitted Europe would "come with a health warning", and Dyche smiled: "I'm a realist, that challenge, if it comes, will be looked at.

"That's life in football, it's very rare there's not a balance, if you're successful, people expect more, if not, people expect more.

"You get somewhere amazing, then three games later, rubbish, why are you doing that?

"I'm used to all of that, good, bad and indifferent.

"We'll see, we're not there yet, but we've adapted to most of the things thrown at us, and that will be the job again, can you adapt to that if it comes our way."