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Not many football fans around the globe expected to see Burnley in the top half of the Premier League table after 11 games.
Burnley provided shock waves when triumphing 3-2 at Stamford Bridge on the opening day of the season and they’ve been defeated just twice so far this campaign despite facing Spurs and Liverpool, as well as last season’s champions. The start the Clarets have made is remarkable, and an authentication to the man hailed as ‘Ginger Mourinho’ by his own.
Sean Dyche has brought a sense of togetherness in the Burnley team with every player putting their heart and soul for their place. They finished 16th last season, six points above the relegation zone but this time around there is fresh optimism among the fans, who feel their beloved club can certainly aim higher this term.
With high expectations, this time around, here are two important things Dyche should do to defy the odds and achieve a top-six finish.
The Claret’s away form was an Achilles’ heel last year, and the results Dyche’s men have achieved so far this season shows the hard work and analyzing that has been put in over the summer to address a clear problem. In fact, the total points claimed away from home last season have already been surpassed by Burnley just 11 games in.
The stats become even more enticing when one takes into contemplation that Dyche has done well against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton, while they were unsurprisingly beaten by the relentless Manchester City at Etihad Stadium.
Dyche has built a disciplined, well-drilled and efficient Burnley side, difficult to beat, especially at home. This comes from the manager’s astute work behind the scenes, who mightily trusts his squad that is also capable of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Whilst their away form has significantly improved, they need to maintain consistency at Turf Moor and make it a fortress just like they did it last season.
For attaining a top-six finish, Dyche has a big task cut out and one of them involves keeping his squad fresh and away from injuries. In football, everything happens in a blink of an eye and so is an injury to a player.
Despite a solid and big squad, Burnley will need players in January, when the matches come thick and fast. Keeping their current form in mind, the North West outfit are certainly heading in the right direction under Dyche and could truly use the winter transfer window to make further progress.
The chequebook should be used in January to bolster the squad that is aiming higher in the league this time around.
Also, the comeback of first-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton from a shoulder injury should provide a massive boost later, so as winger Jonathan Walters’s return from knee problems.
Burnley are no more a hit and hope team, with few improvements, they can give the ‘big six’ a run for their money. And for all this, Dyche’s pragmatism deserves more admiration.