Score line only thing that matters - Dyche

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche
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It’s highly likely that Manchester City will be on the right side of the match statistics this afternoon.

But, like with England in Spain on Monday night, Sean Dyche is only interested in the score line.

The Three Lions earned one of their biggest results of the millennium in Seville, beating the hosts 3-2 in the Nations League, despite the post match analysis showing they only had 27% possession.

Dyche, as he often reminds us, is. no zealot to a style or philosophy, just finding as many different ways as possible to hurt the opposition.

And England found a way in a first half performance to remember at Real Betis, as they went in 3-0 up.

Dyche said: “Statistically we got battered, but we won.

“I was so pleased with that. So pleased, We just beat Spain, we didn’t go ‘oh we didn’t keep the ball this much, or we didn’t play enough passes around the back, we didn’t do this, didn’t do that’, I know the stats, 27% possession, 25 shots on goal against five, 12 corners against zero, 630 passes against 219 and we were lauded - ‘brilliant, what a performance’.

“I have been telling you for years but no-one will listen but I’m not the only one out there – it beggars belief, ‘there is only one way to play’…..Yet everyone said what a great performance.

“In the World Cup semis, at half-time they had 119 passes and the pundits were saying what a brilliant first half that was. Where was your 270 passes? you know in modern football, possession-based football, you should have about 275-325 passes in the first half of a game if you are playing possession football, playing ‘the right way’.

“I am really pleased that everyone went ‘what a good performance’.”

Eric Dier’s challenge on Sergio Ramos, despite seeing the Spurs man booker, was seen as a catalyst for the win in some parts, and Dyche appreciated seeing a meaty challenge having a bearing on the game: “Tackles! They were telling me that tackle changed the game. Is anyone allowed to have a tackle that changes a game? 400 passes changes the game, not a tackle! A tackle. Someone tackled someone and it changed the game. That is what virtually every comment was.

“A second tackle from Maguire – booked – both booked and yet one of their players got ‘elbowed’ in the chest and held his face and rolled on the floor? Nothing. Perfectly acceptable.

“A perfect tackle lauded across the board, lauded for changing the game, the catalyst, was booked.

“Someone rolled around on the floor after a little elbow on their chest, not their face, nothing done, all OK. No problem.

“I know which I prefer to see and I bet you any money what you prefer to see and that is the tackle. There you go, the madness of football all in one evening’s entertainment.”

Spain’s dominance of European and World football from 2008-2012 was based on their tiki-taka possession game, which Germany also utilised to win the World Cup in 2014.

But Portugal and France have since shown you don’t have to dominate the ball to win tournaments, at a time where Leicester City have also won the Premier League and Atletico Madrid have enjoyed huge success at home and abroad with a reactive brand of football.

Dyche is happy to see more than one way to win: “The beautiful game? No. Did we win? Get in, British bulldog, we did, let’s have a bit of that.

“Deep down football fans want to win. You can talk until the cows come home but they want to win. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

You can win beautifully but you can still win and it is not a bad thing if you just win.

“I’m marvelling at our mentality and just for the first time in ages I have seen it just click slightly. I am pleased that everyone went, ‘get in there’, we won, we won in a different way, we won with organisation, we won with counter-attack, by the way, with kicking it more than 10 yards, we did that a lot and everyone went 'brilliant'.

“Underneath we want to win. Number one – want to win. Every fan…has been drunk by all the madness out there – ‘you are not winning the right way’, folk want goals, ball going in that end and not going in that end, and that’s it in a nutshell.

“Now if there is some beauty in it, fantastic, all I’m offering is – I was marvelling at the fact that for once, everyone went hold on, never mind all of that, did we beat Spain away? Yes we did.

“Is that statistically difficult? Bloody difficult. Have we been behind this new manager and side? Yes we have. Shall we keep it going? Yes. Rather than go – ah but we didn’t have enough passes, we didn’t have this, didn’t have that. Lo and behold, the nirvana moment, the cherry on the cake was a bloody tackle!

“Who remembers the last time someone wrote about a tackle changing a game. And managers coming out and talking about that tackle. Who knows it might start a revolution and we will be allowed to tackle again. Brilliant, to be allowed to tackle again. Imagine that? Not rolling around on the floor just people tackling.”