Burnley boss Dyche admits he expected this season to be a huge challenge
Burnley's struggles this season are no surprise to boss Sean Dyche.
But he knows he has to find a solution to them sooner rather than later.
Dyche knew when the summer transfer window closed, that the club hadn’t done sufficient business to strengthen the squad, particularly with the extra test of Europa League football thrown in.
He said at the time: “It’s been the worst window I’ve experienced, the hardest, the worst...even some of the big, big clubs haven’t got the players they wanted, very difficult.
“It’s very frustrating and difficult and I’m very pleased it’s closed.”
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Burnley have subsequently struggled in the Premier League, having also been knocked out of the Europa League and Carabao Cup, and he said after slipping into the bottom three at the weekend: “I knew in the summer this would be a real tough season.
“It’s not as easy as finishing seventh and just rolling it out again, there’s a lot of different challenges.
“The players and club being recognised – brilliant by the way, and deserved – that brings a different expectation and feel.
“It changes – all these players are going through a big shift, and they’ve earned the right to have that shift, but that does bring a different feel, so that’s another learning curve.
“I get that, and we’ve had tough runs before, so it’s not new.
“But it has to be effected, and the only way to do that is by sticking with the task, hard work on the training ground on everything you need to do.
“And within all that, try and find that little bit of relaxed focus, and get back to playing and being you, because these players are capable.”
Burnley have won only two of their 14 league games this season, leaving them 19th in the table, and all of a sudden they are not the good news story they were last season: “One thing that comes back our way strangely – and we didn’t want it – is the underdog thing.
“Now everyone says you’re back to being underdogs, ‘good old Burnley, they’re going to have to fight it out’, which kind of, most people think that of us anyway.
“We’d gone beyond that recognition last season and we’re kind of back there, and maybe that will play in a positive way in the psyche of the players and the fans.
“Burnley has been built out of punching above its weight, before me, built out of proving people wrong and yourselves right – promotion the first full season, staying in the Premier League when no one gave us a chance etc.
“We’re kind of back to that, ‘good old Burnley, they’re going to have to fight, to give everything to get out of this situation.’”
Confidence is clearly an issue – the same players are not at the levels they were last season.
But how do you go about regaining that?: “You have to earn it, but the strange thing is, as a young footballer, you didn’t know about confidence then, but you go out and deliver performances.
“As an adult, you over think that, as a kid you just go out and play and become the best because you earn the right, you think ‘I’m the man’.
“When you become an adult, that gets questioned, when you’re a kid, you just play, so it’s just freeing your mind up, thinking ‘I’m here, playing in the Premier League for a reason, that’s because I have a few, high skill set, a real high level, because you can’t be here without it.”
Burnley, at least, know the challenges of the situation they are in, having been relegated in 2015, but Dyche said: “I don’t think we need to (draw on 2015), I think we’re beyond that, we’re just drawing on various experiences through the timeline, even last season, a lot to draw on, some questions asked, that can happen to Burnley and it can still happen, there’s just more questions because we’re lower in the table.
“It’s still a tough ask for Burnley to keep thriving in the Premier League, and not just us either.”