Dyche focused on Boro, not away hoodoo

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche is focused on adding to Burnley's tally of Premier League points, rather than ending the Clarets' travel sickness.

Burnley have four more opportunities to claim a first away win of the season, starting at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

But Dyche isn't obsessing over ending that unwanted statistic - keeping the club in the Premier League is the be all and end all, however it is achieved.

The Clarets have taken three points on the road, with 32 coming at Turf Moor, and, as Dyche looked ahead to the game at the Riverside, he is looking to keep progressing: "I don’t think it’s necessarily about ending a winless run, that's just a story. It's points on the board.

"That's what you want. If they come away, great, if they come at home, great. It's not a big thought of mine.

"Moving forward is important, building is important, improvement is important. Getting to the end of the season and reflecting on where we're at and our drive is to be in the Premier League – that's our main thing.

"The next one’s Middlesbrough. Every game is a tough game. They have had a change of manager, whatever that brings.

"Good, bad or indifferent we are yet to see. It looks like a change of tactical shape with two centre forwards. Maybe they are looking at a different view. Who knows? We have just got to be ready to deliver and take another challenge on."

Steve Agnew is in charge at Boro after the recent departure of Aitor Karanka, with Boro deep in relegation trouble, seven points adrift of safety and 12 behind Burnley.

The clubs enjoyed a good battle to get up last season, as both earned automatic promotion, but Dyche pointed out: "You say we know them but they have had a lot of changes – players from last season and a recent change of manager.

"We know a little about them but they have morphed into something different.

"The challenge of the Premier League is there for all to see, it is not just about Middlesbrough. It is a very tough division.

"You come into it and it’s really tough to continually win games, to attempt to win games and get points on the board."

He feels Boro's struggles show how tough the Premier League is: "When you talk about away form, it’s not about that for me, it’s about getting points on the table. We have given a good show of ourselves up to this point but that is why we don't take it for granted.

"We know we have seven important games coming up. I don’t think it’s about Middlesbrough, it's a really tough division.

"There is only a handful of clubs who you think are going to be in the Premier League for a long time.

"For the rest it is always an up-and-down, topsy-turvy season and it changes by the week.

"Three points can change a whole view of what is going on in the division. For us it is stick to what we know, what we are about, don't overly concern ourselves with everyone else. We’re really focused on ourselves and what we are looking to achieve."

Boro recruited heavily and quickly in the summer, bringing in Viktor Fischer, Bernardo Espinosa, Antonio Barragan, Marten de Roon, Victor Valdes, Gaston Ramirez, Alvaro Negredo and Fabio.

But did they make too many changes to a promotion-winning formula?

Dyche said: "You’re in that predicament when you come up where it’s what do you change and for what reason?

"Some of the players you don’t know, until the whistle blows you’re never sure until they’re playing in the Premier League, unless you’ve got some who have played 100 games in there.

"Is it always better (to change)? Not always. It’s way, way tougher from the inside looking out than the outside looking in.

"That’s where it has got a bigger challenge, with the way the window works. That is definitely a challenge and more so to the smaller clubs.

"The big clubs stockpile as many high quality players as they can. But with the smaller clubs you’re shopping in that market and hoping you’ve done the right business before it shuts and then you are what you are."

Dyche famously gave Premier League Boro an almighty scare in the FA Cup semi-final with Second Division Chesterfield as a player, and he smiled: "To be honest, it’s so long ago. Do you know it’s 20 years?

"They’re doing a bit of a get-together, which I hope I’m going to get to.

"Obviously, I’ve got family commitments and stuff. It is surreal, because it’s 20 years – it seems so near, yet so far away. Twenty years sounds a lot, and yet I can remember everything about that. It’s odd. That doesn’t really come into my thinking. I’m not one to carry the past. I get on with the future."

Dyche made it 2-0 at Old Trafford with a penalty, going on to draw 3-3 in extra time before losing the replay, but he wouldn't advise any potential penalty takers on Saturday: "No, I’ll definitely not tell them anything.

"They’re allowed to do whatever they believe. I remember a couple of years ago, people questioned me about Ingsy and Vokesy taking penalties. I said it was about whoever wants to take it. That’s the key for me.

"If you really want to take a penalty, take it. I really didn’t want to take that one. But I had to take it. Well, I didn’t have to, but no one else wanted to. I’ve always said that."