'˜It's the Big Six and the rest' admits Burnley boss Dyche ahead of Newcastle clash
Burnley were the best of the rest last season, finishing seventh in the Premier League.
But there were as many points between the Clarets and Spurs in third, as there were between bottom side West Brom - 23.
There has been an argument that there are leagues within the Premier League, but Sean Dyche feels it is again a case of the Big Six and the rest, and the super powers are even stronger this term.
Burnley sit 17th in the table ahead of Monday night’s visit of Newcastle United, who are on the same points in 15th.
Wins for Huddersfield Town and Fulham mean there is just two points separating bottom and 14th.
But while it is important to take points from sides in and around you in the table, Dyche doesn’t feel the Magpies clash is any bigger than the rest, with the sides outside the Big Six much of a muchness: “No one game decides your season. I think anyone outside of the top six, including Manchester United in that, everyone will have to work for the points I think.
”Bournemouth have had a great start and they might end up in the top six but at the minute you’re thinking Manchester United will find a way. Watford have had a good start.
“Over a season it’s very tough. We had a fine season last season and still had a spell of 11 games without a win. That can happen.
“All the teams outside of the top six, everyone is fighting and vying, everyone wants points to continue being in the Premier League, it’s as simple as that.”
He added: “There used to be a thinking of three divisions within the division, but I think at the moment it’s the big six and the rest.
“Obviously a few years ago it changed when Chelsea had a funny time and Leicester won it, but over the last couple of seasons it’s gone back to what we all deep down know. And this season it’s really, really clear, the only anomaly being Manchester United have just been a bit up and down.
“We’re part of the pack of clubs that have to continue fighting for everything we get and the rewards that we get.”
Robbie Brady is pushing for a start after coming through two outings for the Republic of Ireland last week.
The winger has only made one start for Burnley in almost a year, getting the nod against Chelsea, but has been on the bench for the last two games.
recently returned after 10 months out with a knee injury that required surgery.
Brady played the full game against Northern Ireland in a friendly, followed by just over an hour in the Nations League goalless draw in Denmark.
And Dyche said: “Sometimes there’s a bit of noise made about the international games and whether they’re useful or not, but they certainly have been on this occasion,” said the Burnley boss.
“Robbie got 95 minutes and 67, and he needed that to get more minutes into his legs.
“It’s probably the biggest challenge we’ve had and unfortunately the most busy time for us with injuries, from pre-season through to where we are now. We’re hopeful that once this finishes and the lads are all fit and over their injuries that there’s a better run, a more injury-free run going into the Christmas period.”
Brady faces competition from Aaron Lennon, however.
Dyche accepts there is more to come from the former England man, but Dyche is pleased with his contribution: “His demand for the side is excellent, his work ethic is excellent, his quality that I see is there and I think there is more from him to release.
“He was outstanding against Bournemouth and that’s what he will be wanting and that is what we know is in there. He has an unbelievable work ethic and I think he is enjoying it.
“The more you play with a smile, as Brian Clough used to say, the more you relax and your ability comes out.
“When I was doing my background on him, I spoke to Robbie Martinez and he couldn’t speak highly enough of him. He said he had a willingness to work and would help the side, and he does.
“That is not always a quality that would be obvious to people and that fits with the work ethic of the side here. We are a side that has to work for everything and then add the quality on top. But, yes, I think he is in a good place at the moment.”