Dyche does it again as Burnley faith rewarded
A week is a long time in football and that has certainly proved the case for Sean Dyche and Burnley.
Seven days ago, the Clarets found themselves hoping to stem a four-match losing run that had seen them dragged into the relegation reckoning. However, back-to-back wins over Leicester City and Manchester United have elevated them to 13th in the table, seven points clear of the bottom three.
It is testament to the helter-skelter nature of this season’s Premier League that their tally of 30 points leaves them just four behind fifth-placed United.
Could a European push be on the cards? Probably not, but Dyche’s hard work seems to be paying off.
In a strange campaign, his team have not drawn since a 2-2 at Aston Villa on September 28 and their inconsistency has been at odds with the solid foundations the boss has built his side on since taking over in 2012.
Wednesday’s win marked the first time the club has won at Old Trafford since 1962 and was the perfect Burnley performance under Dyche.
Marshalled expertly at the back by man-of-the-match Ben Mee, the East Lancashire outfit stuck to their usual method of lining up their two banks of four, with Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez leading from the front in attack.
After weathering an early storm, Dyche’s side took advantage of a set-piece, Wood firing home captain Mee’s knockdown after 39 minutes.
That sent the visitors in 1-0 up at the break and they were rarely troubled from then on, with their pragmatism too much for a toothless United attack.
With space opening up on their rare forays forward, Rodriguez took advantage, smashing in off the crossbar with a magnificent left-footed effort.
The result marked Dyche’s first win as a manager against United and despite the Red Devils’ list of ills, was well deserved.
Credit is something the 48-year-old maybe doesn’t get enough of. It is easy to overlook that he operates on a tiny budget by Premier League standards and works with limited numbers, staying faithful to the same XI whenever he can.
THE GOALS | Oh, go on then – just one more time… 🙌
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) 23 January 2020
In a world league of chopping and changing as clubs search for instant results at the cost of long-term success, Burnley’s faith in Dyche is admirable.
Every season the Clarets have a mini-wobble but the former boss always gets it right and that is usually by staying patient and sticking to his guns. An ‘old-fashioned’ 4-4-2 remains his weapon of choice and works due to the discipline he has installed in his eight years in charge and their quick turnaround suggests things are again back on the winning road.
Burnley are a club from a hard-working, honest town and their manager and his team are the personifications of their surroundings.
The grit they showed in the wins over Leicester and United will have brought plenty of smiles to the faces of their fans and Dyche deserves great credit for again turning his season around.
Would his methods work if he moved on? Not sure. While he has been linked with other jobs, like Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder, everything seems built for the Englishman to succeed where he is.
Eight years into the role, Wednesday’s win further confirms that there is still plenty left in Dyche and his Burnley side.