Clarets’ gameplan works to perfection

Jeff Hendrick battles for possession at Southampton
Jeff Hendrick battles for possession at Southampton

Burnley’s best start to a Premier League season continued, as they went into the international break with a second-successive win.

Southampton fan Sam Vokes’ stunning header was enough to beat the Saints at St Mary’s and lift the Clarets to sixth, ahead of Liverpool’s game at West Ham, level on points with Chelsea and Arsenal.

Eleven games in, and Burnley have 19 points to their name, having lost just twice, and this was a fourth 1-0 win, the other victory coming 3-2 at Chelsea on the opening day.

Dyche said of the start to the campaign: “Factually it is (the best start), definitely, I’m enjoying the group and not just the XI, their mentality towards it, in training, the way they go about it, their professionalism and professional outlook.

“They’re things people don’t always see and the thing I guaranteed when I came, was we’ve got a group who’ll give everything.

“For five years now, I’ve had groups who give everything, and you can never underestimate that I don’t think.”

And he was delighted with how the game plan panned out: “When you try and plan for these games, how you hope it pans out, then that’s as close as we’ve been to making it go in our favour.

“I thought the shape was very good, first half, against a very good technical side, you have to be diligent with the details and defensive responsibilities, and looked to counter.

“We didn’t do it as well first half, and I thought the depth of squad and belief was evident - the two lads coming on up front, Barnesy and Vokesey - were absolutely terrific and changed the feel of the game once we had that calming period at that stage at 0-0.

“They were terrific in turning the game in our favour.”

Dyche air-headed the ball in himself in his technical area, and he said of Vokes’ winner: “Fantastic. There was a calmness in the build up, a double switch from a throw in, great delivery from Johann, but what a header that is. 12 yards out, to find the corner with that power from an in swinging cross, what a finish, and it caps a very strong display.”

Success has its flip side with continued speculation linking him with the Everton job, but again he played down the media stories: “The simple thing as a manager, if it ain’t going right, it’s not good news, and if it is, you get the good news. Simple as that.

“I said before, I just keep getting on with it.

“It’s a story that’s outside me, but about me, and I’ve got no control over what you want to put out there.”