Dyche looking to clinch Championship title

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Clarets boss Sean Dyche admits it's been "a very, very challenging year" - but he hopes to end it with the Championship trophy.

A win at Charlton today will confirm the title - or even a defeat, if Middlesbrough draw at home to Brighton.

But Burnley are out for a 23rd league game without defeat - a post-war club record within a single season.

It has taken that sort of form to claim automatic promotion back to the Premier League, after being pushed all the way by Boro and Brighton, and Dyche said: "The first one is getting the job done, which is incredible, and now we've got a chance to win it, so we must be ready, and that will be the key focus.

"They've had an unbelievable achievement, so we'll refocus and get ready.

"We set out to win it, and we're right on the cusp of that."

Should Burnley win 3-2, they will have the same number of points, goals for and goals against as in 2014 when promoted behind champions Leicester.

And Dyche is surprised his players' unbeaten run wasn't given more respect in the race for promotion: "What I’ve found interesting is because of the challenge of the main three at the end, people were scaremongering of us losing a game.

"People seemed to have forgotten we were 20 unbeaten. It’s unbelievable. It’s because there were three runners and riders.

"I’m incredibly proud that on Boxing Day we got beat 3-0 and we sit here one game away from going half a season unbeaten, with the promotion and the title.

"It’s life as a football manager, whatever you do it isn’t enough, there’ll always be someone questioning you.

"Credit to all the runners and riders, everyone put the pressure on and went hard. It’s been a very, very challenging year. A different feel to two years ago, way more finance put into the teams."

After Leicester won the Premier League, having been 5,000/1 outsiders, Burnley started at that price after promotion, but have been backed by punters trying to bash the bookmakers again.

Dyche had a wry smile: "It’s the madness of football, the last time we got told we’d never win a game ever in the Premier League, and this time I’m being asked if we’d win it. If that’s not the madness of football I don’t know what is!

"I think it’s highly unlikely we’ll win the Premier League next year. That’s not because I’m a negative person, it’s because I’m a positive realist."

"I’d be very surprised if the super powers weren’t the superpowers next season. They always find a way of getting it back on the right track."

Burnley won't receive the Football League Championship trophy today if they clinch the title at The Valley, with Charlton fans in the mood for protest after their relegation.

Dyche is only focused on his players and their performance: "It’s nothing to do with my view, I don’t have the knowledge to give a real opinion on that situation. I know they’re disgruntled, I’m told it’s not about us, they’ve made that clear, it’s about them and the club. There’s nothing we can do about that, whatever their actions are we focus on what we do.

"I don’t need to speak to the players, it’s been all over the news, they will know. Our focus has been good all season and it will need to be again if it gets delayed or stopped. It’s part of the challenge."

Asked about a potential wait to lift the trophy, he added: "Winning’s winning, it’s as simple as that."