Clarets skipper Jason Shackell has hailed Sean Dyche as the “best manager he’s worked with” ahead of the Burnley boss’s 100th game in charge of the club.
The 31-year-old, brought to Turf Moor by Eddie Howe in July 2012, has played every minute since Dyche’s tenure began with a 2-0 Championship win over Wolves.
The former Watford manager has accumulated 42 wins in that spell in all competitions complemented by 31 draws and 126 goals scored. That period, which has also brought 26 defeats and 100 goals conceded, has seen the Clarets climb from 14th in the Championship to 19th in the Premier League.
“I’ve noticed a huge difference,” said Shackell. “I wasn’t here too long before Sean came in but he’s probably the best manager I’ve worked with. I think he’s great.
“The mental side is such an important part to him, he breeds confidence, a great man manager, he’s been brilliant for us and he wants you to play.
“He likes to find a balance of play but he’ll never have a go at you for trying to do the right things and trying to pass the ball. I think he’s been brilliant, from what he has achieved everybody can see that from the outside and he’s great to work with day in day out and the lads love him.”
Shackell, signed from Derby County, has helped the Clarets keep 35 clean sheets during Dyche’s reign including four this term against Manchester United, Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Hull City.
“I think we’ve all improved under him,” said the defender. “It’s such a thing just being organised, he sets it up very clearly what he expects from everybody in the team and what he expects from every position.
“The lads know whoever steps into that back four, whether it’s left back, right back or centre back, they know exactly what is expected and what they have to do, and it makes your life a lot easier when you know that.
“I’ve had a good run personally, I’ve been fortunate I haven’t been injured too many times, I’m delighted to be picked quite a few games consecutively, I love working under the gaffer and I’m looking forward to another good 100 games in the future.”
Victory against Newcastle United under the Turf Moor floodlights this evening could lift the Clarets out of the bottom three, and Shackell admits jumping out of the relegation zone is a huge incentive.
“It’s going to be a boost whenever we get out of the bottom three,” he said. “It would be great. That’s always the aim and it was the aim before the season started. That’ll be the aim 10, 20 games further down in to the season. It’s all about taking it one game at a time and next up is Newcastle.
“The pressure has definitely been lifted since we got that first win. It’s nice to be in and among the pack and now we’ve got that foundation to kick on. It’s nice to have moved on from where we were a few weeks ago but now it’s all about looking forward and trying to kick on again.
“What we’ve done over the last couple of weeks is great but that’s gone now so it’s onwards and upwards and on to Newcastle where we’ll try and pick up another positive result. It’s all about gaining that momentum now and getting some more points on the board. It breeds belief especially in this league.”