Sean Dyche was more than pleased with a point and a third clean sheet in a week after a goalless draw at promoted Brighton.
Burnley had to weather a lot of pressure from the hosts in the first period, as Glenn Murray missed a penalty he was fortuitously awarded after a tangle of legs with James Tarkowski.
In the second half, the game evened up, with Chris Wood having a goal disallowed for a tight offside decision, before seeing Mat Ryan save his chip when one on one.
It made it seven points from nine in a week, however, as Burnley climbed above Spurs into fifth, ahead of their game at Manchester City this evening.
Dyche said: “I think they’re on a tough run at the minute, they’ve rested players against Tottenham, so maybe thought this was a bigger game in a different way, and I thought they set about us early, brought the tempo on and tried to affect the game early.
“I thought we withstood that pressure well tactically from the team and the defensive unit, and then second half grew into the game and got stronger, which is really pleasing from a physical point of view because it’s the third game in a week, we’ve had to make changes in certain instances, but plenty of them have played those three games, and the overriding thing is three clean sheets and seven points in a week in the Premier League. That’s a great return, for us, still learning and improving.”
The penalty was the main talking point, and Dyche felt it was harsh: “I think it’s a tough one, I really do. I was a defender. I haven’t seen any of the incidents back, but he’s going to get the back and I think Murray’s legs are in a slightly unnatural position to get tangled up in him. I think it’s more of a tangle than a foul.
“But, it’s a tough one. He actually made a similar right decision with Steven Defour, the big bruiser that he is, when he dealt with their centre half viciously, to try and scramble for the ball.
“The ref made a good decision then, because it was just a coming together.
“It’s tough to even give an opinion. From a distance you can see why he’s given a penalty, but the. You look at it with detail and it’s a bit of an unnatural leg that goes out between Tarkowski’s legs, and in between in key, because Tarkowski is in front of the play.”
It is the third penalty Tarkowski has conceded this season, after giving away spot kicks against Leeds and Arsenal, but Dyche added: “You can’t watch being unlucky. I think today he’s going to defend the moment, I don’t think it’s a silly challenge, he’s going to defend and get the ball. Murray loses it, it gets away from him, and he goes to get round him, then his leg comes out between his legs, so it happens.”
Wood had an effort ruled out in the second half, turning the ball in after Scott Arfield had a shot saved, and Dyche felt that was borderline: “Yet again, I’m from a terrible angle, but my analyst says it’s a really tight decision. And then the second chance he has is a good chance, and the keeper makes a good save.
“So, very pleasing in different ways, we had to fight first half, and second half find that bit more balance and attacking football. If the goal is given, hell of a passing move to get from our box.
“I was really pleased with that. Some of the mixed play we’ve been finding has been really effective.”
Ben Mee returned to the side after missing two games after having stitches above his knee, but Matt Lowton, out for four games, was on the bench, as Phil Bardsley retained his place, with Charlie Taylor making his first Premier League start as Stephen Ward was ruled out.
Dyche spoke of his team selection: “There were some tight decisions, definitely, we have had injuries, so some are obvious, but the players are laying down some good performances.
“Before I named the team on Friday, I did say to them, the margins are super tight, people coming in the side, delivering performances, but that’s a great show for the squad mentality, and some of them playing three in a week, their physicality was excellent again.
“Brighton went as hard as they could and we more than matched that over the 90-odd minutes.”
On Ward, he added: “He wasn’t close, not for this one, we’ll see how it settles down this week. I thought it might be, but not in the end.”