Still a long way to go '“ boss

Clarets boss Sean Dyche accepts his side have a long way to go in their survival battle.

Thursday, 3rd January 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 8:22 am
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But he feels they are finally starting to show signs of their old selves after claiming successive wins either side of the New Year.

On Sunday, Burnley beat West Ham 2-0 at Turf Moor with their best performance of the season to date, and they came from behind to win at bottom side Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night to climb out of the relegation zone.

Dyche will make changes on Saturday as he goes for a third-straight win at home to League 1 Barnsley in the Emirates FA Cup, and he will be without Robbie Brady for three games after the substitute was sent off late on at the John Smith’s Stadium.

But, asked if his players are getting back to their levels, he said: “We’ve had pockets of it, we come back to fitness and then Robbie gets suspended.

“Each time we’ve got that feeling about us, there’s been more challenges.

“After the Europa thing, it’s been injuries, and it’s unusual for us.

“Every time you get back to being yourself, something else has happened.

“So there’s some of that, and equally we haven’t always played as well as we can, or kept it as tight as we can.

“The Everton game was a real blip, but the games before that, against some very good sides, we were a lot tighter, there was a lot less in the games, and that’s what I was looking for.

“But the last two were definitely worthy of wins, and we’ve got them, and they’re important.

“We still have a long way to go, but there are clear signs and we have to carry that on now.”

The partnerships in the team are also starting to click, with strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes back on the scoresheet in the last two games, and starting to return to the form they showed when paired towards the end of last season when Burnley sealed Europa League qualification.

Ashley Westwood is also impressing alongside Jack Cork in the absence of Steven Defour, and Dyche added: “Westy, Corky, the front two – there are reminders of last season, clear minds, the way they’re playing, being effective, all over the pitch – those links.

“It’s been a funny season, not always funny ha ha by the way, but it’s looking to find a balance and the connections, and there are clear signs.

“We know the second half of the season is going to be a challenge, but we’ve certainly started in the right manner.”

Burnley’s next Premier League outing is another vital game, as next-bottom Fulham make the trip to Turf Moor a week on Saturday.