This time last year, Burnley were looking at their options as they looked to replace Eddie Howe, who had returned to Bournemouth.
The side sat 16th in the Championship with 11 points from the first 10 games after a 4-3 reverse at Crystal Palace.
What a difference a year makes!
Twelve months on, Burnley are top of the table after 11 games, with 26 points in the bag under Sean Dyche.
While Dyche has acknowledged it hasn’t been plain sailing, most notably when ending the campaign with four wins in 18 games, as the Clarets only secured their Championship status in the penultimate game.
However, through all the outside opinion, Dyche believed, in those tricky times, there were promising signs at the club, and he is glad that is being borne out with results this season.
Closing in on his first anniversary, Dyche said: “I mentioned last year and I’ve said this year that I think there were some good things going on.
“We felt that a lot’s changed. Each manager has their own way of doing things. I must make it clear that’s nothing about the previous regime, it’s just that I want to get to how we want to do things.
“We feel we’ve built the things that I wanted to improve, like the sports science, the link between physiotherapy, sports science and first team coaching staff. We’ve altered and improved the mentality, the culture and the environment - there have been good signs of that.
“There have been a lot of things behind the scenes, some of which I can talk about, like re-aligning the idea of a scouting structure. It’s still in process, it’s not done - although I don’t think it ever is really. That kind of thing that then links in with the first team and our recruitment.
“Of course all that has to end up with getting results because if it doesn’t then no-one gives a ... whatever word you wish to use!
“I’m not naive. But it’s nice to see that some of those things do affect the outcome, and I think clearly do.”
A key moment was getting his hands on the squad for a full pre-season schedule, as Dyche laid the foundations of the players’ impressive fitness levels over the close season.
And he said: “A lot’s been documented on the good shape the players are in, that’s an important thing. That can only happen with good sports science and support and coaching staff support. I’ve been pleased with that.
“I’ve mentioned many times the framework’s got to be there, because you’ve got to find a way of stopping the opposition because there are some good teams and we’ve got to respect that.
“From that framework, there has to be licence to go and play.
“We put some models and shapes to the team, but a lot of it we believe in them becoming what they are as individuals, and linking as a team to attack. There have been good signs of that.
“I’m pleased with the way players are improving, the will to improve and the demand to improve. They’ve been excellent. They’re all the good things.
“Through all the outside noise, it’s my job to see through all that, know what we’re doing daily, know what we’re doing weekly, know what we’re doing monthly, how we’re changing it, how we’re improving it and of course work to get the outcome in a slightly longer term.”
It is clear in the respect the players have for the manager that he has had a positive impact, and he is eager to strengthen those bonds: “I made it clear to the players that I’ll always be part of them, but they must know where it lives. I think I’m respectful of that, as much as they are respectful of it. They don’t abuse our relationship, they use it wisely. We have fun when it’s time to have fun, and we make sure there’s a demand there when we need a demand.”