'˜There has to be respect both ways''“ Clarets boss
While Sean Dyche is all too aware that this is a results business, man-management is a huge part of his job behind the scenes.
Note the way he has praised Charlie Taylor on numerous occasions of late, with the summer signing yet to feature in the Premier League.
Dyche has made the fewest changes of any Premier League boss to his starting XI so far this season - so how do you keep those not featuring regularly happy?
He feels that side of the job has changed from when he was a player, when the team was pinned to a board, and that was that.
Dyche said: “It’s tough, and respect has to be two ways in that situation.
“I’ve mentioned already this season with Charlie Taylor – I think he’s developing and I think he’s moving forward as an individual with how he’s operating.
“He’ll be frustrated, but when you look at the knife-edge of football, he’s the next in, and I’d have absolutely no doubt if anything happened to Wardy at this current time – I’d put him straight in.
“There’s no confusion currently in the active squad, if you like.
“That can be difficult.
“The challenge that comes next is when Nakhi is fully fit, which he’s on the cusp of right now.
“There’s a challenge in that – who’s involved, who’s not.”
But, as Dyche notes, the players on the fringes can’t complain at present, with the side seventh in the table, with only two defeats in 11 games - Burnley’s best start to a top-flight campaign in 45 years: “There has to be respect both ways.
“I understand the profession and how hard it is for them.
“Equally, they’ve got to understand the group and how important the group is at this football club, because at the end of the season it’s the whole group that counts.
“There’s a good awareness of that here.
“It’s difficult for them, it’s difficult for us as staff and coaches because you can only pick 11 and subs.
“Outside of that it’s a juggling act every week for different reasons.
“Sometimes for cover, sometimes for someone having a knock – what I mean is you’ll have a split group on your bench for different tactical reasons.
“I’ve got a huge respect for the players here.
“I’ve said many times through our successes that the players who aren’t playing are vital, because their respect and their honesty within the group is so, so important over a season.
“You can’t underestimate that, so I’ve got huge respect for the professionalism of the group here.”
That doesn’t mean players aren’t knocking on his door, but as a manager, you want that desire to be playing: “I’m never dishonest with players
“I judge it by when I was a player.
“Even when it wasn’t great news, I still preferred to know the truth.
“That’s what I tell the players – look, at the moment I just physically can’t get you in.
“Sometimes it’s a gut feeling, which can be frustrating for players.
“Sometimes there’s an obvious reason – injuries, suspensions or whatever – that’s a different thing.
“Honesty is the first port of call for me with all my players.”
Dyche isn’t one for squad rotation in the league, but has built a culture at the club based on the group ethic – everyone pulling in the same direction.
A “one-club mentality” he called it, upon his arrival just over five years ago: “The understanding of the bigger picture has become important.
“We’re not the superpowers who can just roll around the division winning every week.
“They know that the combined work ethic and combined belief among the whole squad is absolutely important.
“It’s not 100% vital, but it’s very important in the make-up of a successful group, they’re aware of that.
“Although there might be disappointments along the way for some, they are aware and I think we’ve got a good group to pay that respect back.
“I’m sure the players give Charlie a lot of respect for how he conducts himself, how his professionalism is, how he trains every day.
“And not forgetting there’s an obvious story with Tarky.
“He was waiting – ‘can he do it? Can he play well?’
“All those months working hard behind Keano and Ben last season, training hard and staying on top of himself.
“When you’re needed, that pays you back.
“Right in front of your eyes there are situations that they’ve all seen and I think that can help.
“It still doesn’t lessen the moment, but if there’s a bigger picture…
“Some of these players have had to wait and had to continue to work hard.
“When they’ve been needed, they are ready.
“Once you’re ready, if you deliver, it’s your turn to keep the shirt.”
Dyche was a youth team player at Nottingham Forest while Brian Clough was manager, earning a professional contract.
But he left the City Ground in early 1990 without making a first team appearance for Forest, signing for neighbours Chesterfield, where he spent seven years.
He admits that times have changed.
Clough led Derby County and Forest to the First Division title, winning two European Cups with Forest, and Dyche smiled: “Yeah, loads of people used to knock on his door – there wasn’t much of that!
“But, you know what, life’s changed since then, not just football, because back then they just put a team up on the board. No information, that was it.
“I think when I originally played it was two subs.
“An XI pinned on a board, two subs and that was it.
“Now there’s feedback, advice, guidance and all that.
“Rightly so, I would say, some of it. It has moved on in a positive way with that side of things.”
Clough’s achievements commanded respect, and Dyche added: “You weren’t not going to respect him by the way. I think he earned that.
“It’s a different era and you just get on with it.
“Nowadays it’s different.
“You have courses and there is a bit more feedback.
“They want alignment about moments, what you need to do. Sometimes it’s just timing.
“If they are playing well. Tarky will have looked last season and said ‘those two are doing well’.”