Clarets boss Sean Dyche spoke last year about aspiring to play like Manchester United.
Now he is preparing his side to try and beat the Red Devils.
Dyche was a huge fan of the way United played under Sir Alex Ferguson, as he said: “The best exponents of mixed, clever football for a long time have been Manchester United.
“It’s nirvana for every manager - a team that can operate and hurt teams as many ways as you can.
“Defending and counter attacking, muck and nettles, fantastic football, set pieces..I think United have done that for a long time.”
United will come to Turf Moor tomorrow with a different manager in Louis van Gaal and a different philosophy, playing the Dutch master’s preferred 3-5-2, but Dyche is looking forward to the challenge.
Speaking yesterday, he said: “Certainly the way Sir Alex’s teams operated for many years, they can hurt you in every way.
“Now we are aspiring to do that. And not be afraid of doing that
“I mentioned last season that if we have to play mixed football, then we will play mixed football.
“If we have to pass and play to break down the opposition, then I think we can do that as well.
“I’m not against one way or the other. I’m just a big fan of winning. I like winning and I strive to win and so do my team and so do my staff. It is all about finding the best way of winning.”
Burnley were described by Jose Mourinho as “direct” after the 3-1 defeat in the opening game against Chelsea, but Dyche explained: “It was interesting against Chelsea, we were just talking about it this morning, Jose was very kind to me after the game and he also mentioned that he felt we were a direct side.
“Well, we played direct on that day in particular, that was the game-plan, because their midfield is so powerful we had to try and play over their midfield to get into their back line.
“That was the tactical plan if you like and something we wanted to operate. But people who have seen us reguarly know that we can pass and play as well and deliver fast and effective passing movements in order to win games.
“And it is finding that balance, finding the right times to pass and play, the right times to play long,the right times to shore up and play defensive. And we have done that very well in the past.
“But now the goal-posts have changed. It is a much tougher demand now.
“We want to see how we operate from what we believe is right. Then we will be flexible going forward should it not be working.”
Dyche has preferred to play a 4-4-1-1 at Burnley, but 3-5-2 is creeping back into vogue, and he mused: “A lot is made of systems, but the most radical is 3-5-2.
“The game has been going for 138 years and there’s lots of things have been tried.
“It is just that, it is not creating a new wheel, it is just creating the best, shiniest wheel you can create.
“3-5-2 is the biggest change because it literally changes that feeling of 4-3-3 or 4-4-1-1. It does change that.
“Some have operated very well with it. I think it goes in and out of trends as well in football, different shapes, different tactics, a lot of Italian clubs have used it over the last few years.
“So we’ll see. The manager obviously believes in it because he has said in front of everyone that is his philosophy, he’s going to mould it, he’s going to work with it so he obviously has a belief in it.
“And we’ll soon see, because the whistle will blow and we’ve got to play against it!”
David Jones and Dean Marney have shaken off knocks and will be fit to play.
Meanwhile, Dyche continues to look to add to his squad ahead of Monday’s 11 p.m. Transfer deadline.
He said: “It’s a strange situation. Last season we went out in the market and didn’t spend anything.
“Then we finally get some money, but there are all kinds of situations that have to be balanced off at the club.
“Then we go to a market that by chance has shifted enormously. You get some money and then where does it go?
“The board have made it clear there are certain guidelines and certain parameters that we have to work within. It’s just tough.”