Heaton hails the gaffer’s influence

Best mates: Tom Heaton, centre, with best pal David Jones, left, and Junior Stanislas, celebrating promotion
Best mates: Tom Heaton, centre, with best pal David Jones, left, and Junior Stanislas, celebrating promotion
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Keeper Tom Heaton admitted boss Sean Dyche must take the bulk of the credit for Burnley’s stunning success.

The Clarets started the season 4/1 with the bookies to be relegated, and 88/1 to be promoted, but they upset all the pundits and showed football isn’t all about money and resources.

Heaton, relegated this time last year with Bristol City, was one of the first names targeted by Dyche to get Burnley moving forward, and the former Manchester United man is full of praise for his manager: “I think most of it can probably be poured his way.

“He sets the standard, the expectation, the format, what he wants. He simplifies it for players.

“We knew from pre-season there was something special and we managed to keep it all going.

“He’s fantastic to play for and he should be very proud.

“The manager sets the stall out where he simplifies it for players and I think once you get that physical conditioning that we’ve got, that we certainly had in pre-season - we’ve kept that going, and once you apply that physical conditioning to the game, it simplifies things.

“We know we’ve got quality, so if you can put the work ethic and the application there, which we’ve done in every game this season, you’re always going to give yourself a chance, especially in the Championship where fine margins make a big difference.

“It’s been superb.”

Burnley have shown up a number of modern myths - including the need for squad rotation, and Heaton added: ““I think we’ve shown that all year and the stats back it up.

“It’s a brilliant achievement, just incredible really.

“It’s absolutely top drawer, there are some great sides in the Championship this year and we’re one of them. We’re there on merit and there’s certainly a lot of pride in that.”

Heaton left Old Trafford without making a first team appearance, and he is overjoyed to be back in the top flight: “I set out when I started playing football as a kid to play in the Premier League. When I left Manchester United a few years ago, it’s the aim to try to get back there. To get there it’s fantastic, just incredible.”

“It’s a level everyone aspires to play at. I couldn’t be happier to be there.”

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