Snatching a late equaliser at home to a struggling ten-man West Ham side might not seem impressive on paper but it is this resilience and team ethic which epitomises Sean Dyche’s Burnley team.
In a time where trigger-happy chairmen are only too happy to wield the axe after a run of unfavourable results and club loyalty is an archaic notion of the past, it is refreshing to watch Dyche’s Burnley side evolve in the Premier League.
His team’s sturdy foundations are constructed around a predominantly Irish and British base of players who perfectly embody their manager’s grit and determination. At a club with comparatively modest resources in comparison to their rivals, it is vital that this group of players buy into their manager’s system.
The improvements this season can be seen in Burnley’s dramatic upturn in away form. Looking at last year’s away form table, Burnley were second from bottom. In fact, only relegated Hull City could claim a more miserable road record.
The contrast this season could not be more stark. At the time of writing, the Lancashire club are sixth in the away table having beaten Chelsea on the opening day and drawing at Spurs and Liverpool.
Another impressive feature of Dyche’s management is the way the club have conducted their transfer business. For example, Burnley initially purchased Michael Keane for £2 million in 2014 and sold the current England international to Everton for £25 million.
They acquired Andre Gray for approx £6 million and offloaded the striker for triple that figure.
It’s clear that a great deal of trust exists between Dyche and the board, something that is evident throughout their efficient dealings. Dyche and his scouting network tend to prefer to look down the leagues for value for money in the Championship – a tactic that has proven successful to date.
Instead of panic buying a replacement for Keane, Dyche promoted James Tarkowski (bought from Brentford) who has excelled in defence alongside Ben Mee. Meanwhile, Gray was replaced by Chris Wood, the New Zealander who fired in 27 goals for Leeds last season.
Finally, the attitude displayed by Burnley in every game is exemplary. Rarely will you see the team crumble after conceding or endure heavy defeats. Aside from a hefty 4-0 defeat to West Brom in November, they didn’t lose by more than a two-goal margin for the remainder of the season.
Ultimately, this is a side that refuses to give up. After relegation in 2015, Burnley managed to retain the vast majority of his squad and navigated through the gruelling Championship with an instant return to the Premier League the next season at the first time of asking.
Again evidence that belief in the manager’s philosophy has paid dividends.
With commander Dyche at the helm, Burnley is a club in capable hands.
Matthew Coughlan, Pundit Arena