‘Winning will never go out of fashion’ - Dyche

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche is no zealot to a footballing philosophy, brand or ‘right way of playing’.

As systems and styles come and go in the game, he feels winning and working hard will always be fashionable.

And he certainly isn’t worried of a perception of him as a ‘pragmatic’ manager.

Dyche was responding to questions about Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher’s comments on Monday night, when he suggested that Everton “should be busting his door down, but they’re not.”

The Liverpool legend feels there is a view that Dyche’s brand of football is unattractive for the top clubs, saying: “I'm not criticising his style of play, but there's no doubt that top teams are put off if a manager gets a tag for playing direct football, no matter how good a job he does. Everton should be bursting his door down (to get him), but they're not.”

Carragher was highly complimentary of the work Dyche has done at Turf Moor, but wonders whether he is tarred with the long ball stick - his Burnley side have played more long passes than any side in the Premier League so far this season, though, conversely, centre backs Ben Mee and James Tarkowski have made more headed clearances.

Dyche knows it is about finding different ways to win, whether that is with flowing football, or grinding it out, and he said: "Whatever we all think, football has to be effective, simple as that.

"So working with your group to be effective is my number one priority.

"After that, as long as its effective, can we find the right balance to what is enjoyable, for the players and the fans, what's looked at as being something that can morph into something else and move forward...

"We're not a million miles away.”

Burnley best Everton with a 24-pass goal at Goodison Park, and scored two wonderfully-worked goals to beat Swansea - long admired for their commitment to stylish football - on Saturday.

Dyche feels his side are improving with the ball: "I've said many times, I’m not judging anyone else at all, I actually like mixed football because it increases your chances of getting the outcome you want, in my opinion.

“Manchester United in their pomp could hurt you in any way.

“Now, moving that into our group, I’ve said many times how we have to continue to improve with the ball, and I think we are doing, not only to calm the game and manage it more, but to be productive with it.

“Do we want to mix It? Yes. Do we want to be effective? Yes. Do we want to be awkward as well, and be hard to handle? Yes.

“So there’s got to be a balance to it, in our view, not about Jamie Carragher’s view, just in our view what is right for this group.

“Somewhere down the line, whenever that day comes, with a different group, you might look at it differently, each group has different skill sets.

“It’s a strange thing at the minute, there’s a lot of talk about brands and styles, and innovation.

“The game has been going since about 1870, when the first recognised group of teams got together, and in 1888 the first League was formed, which obviously Burnley was part of.

“Well, to think there’s not been innovation and things tried along the way is probably highly unlikely.

“I think the Engineers were the first group recognised as playing passing football, so through all of these different guises, from then to now, the name of the game is to win.

“So whether you’re at the top - I think Jamie was referring to a top six club - you think they don’t want to win? Of course they do.

“So winning first, almost across the board.

“If they’re not winning, what happens to the manager?”

Tony Pulis left West Brom on Monday, and while results were not in his favour, Baggies fans came on the phone ins in their droves to complain about the lack of entertainment value at the Hawthorns.

Dyche knows it is an entertainment industry, but one where you have to win to survive: “I can only speak of what we’ve done here and continue to do, I can only imagine if you ask Burnley fans are they enjoying what we’re doing, I imagine - some might not - but I’d suggest yes.

“To please some of the people some of the time is pretty decent, so I’m not for or against it, the word pragmatic seems to come up a lot.

“You know, in any other business, pragmatic would be a golden word. ‘We’ve got a manager who’s pragmatic, fantastic!’

“How’s production? Going up. How’s revenues? Going up. How’s the building? Going up.

“Seriously, in football it’s like ‘oh, he’s pragmatic’.

“I’m not dancing around it, I just think that’s true.

“I speak to varying businessmen, pragmatic is golden, people who get the job done.

“People who build things, perform, bring in revenue.

“In football it’s not quite like that.

“But in a way, you don’t want it all like that. We’ve had to be pragmatic in the early days here, to build all this.

“Now we’re trying to mould it a little bit more. Not going far from what we’re about.”

And he was pleased to hear some positive views from a colleague earlier this season: “Slaven Bilic said after our game, ‘you’ve kept the fundamentals of how your team operate, but, you’re playing better football in better areas of the pitch’.

“I thought that was a tremendous compliment from someone I have a great deal of respect for.

“We’re not the real deal yet, but are we trying to move forward? Yes.

“That’s pragmatic, but still trying to be innovative.

“But you know this ‘playing the right way?’, think how many teams do this now - two centre halves split, two full backs high, one of the midfield drops, the other two midfielders try and find pockets. The two wide men, as the ball goes higher up the pitch, come inside, to join in with the centre forward, so you get five up front, two behind, one in the middle, two centre halves.

“How many teams do that? A lot. So how many are really innovative?

“It comes down to innovation, against players who can deliver, against winning. Everyone wants to win.”

And that will never not be in vogue in football: “The two things that will never go out of fashion, the desire to win will never become non-trendy, and the achievement of winning and working hard.

“If that’s your minimum, and you build on that - which is what we’re trying to do - that’s a good start point.

“The right way is to win. I was sitting with Alec Chamberlain, the goalie coach at Watford, and I was a player, and we heard a Premier League manager on the radio, saying ‘If we go down, we’ll go down the right way’.

“I was screaming at the radio ‘stay up the wrong way!’

“Chambo was setting himself laughing. I was already forming my thinking on football.

“Stay up the wrong way. That’s your job, to win, or whatever is a win for you, staying in the Premier League, or literally winning titles.

“I don’t believe fans see a team consistently and go ‘at least we’re losing the right way, I’m early enjoying this’.

“It’s a strange myth.

“Playing the right way is only good when you’re winning.

“If you did a straw poll, losing but playing the right way, or winning playing the wrong way, I’d be amazed if fans didn’t want the latter.

“There has to be balance to the reality of what you’re seeing, the reality of what your club has to work with, then what can we do with it?

“I think football in many guises is losing the reality of the balance. A lot of that is brought by social media.”