Burnley boss Sean Dyche frustrated again after defeat to Manchester United

Sean Dyche was again a frustrated figure as his side suffered a second-successive Festive defeat.


But he was encouraged by the second half showing in particular as Manchester United went away from Turf Moor with a 2-0 win, thanks to late goals in each half from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche

Charlie Taylor was caught in possession by Andreas Pereira for the first, with the sides poised to go in goalless, before United nicked a killer second at the death on the break.

Dyche said: "Two back to back games that have been frustrating really, two key mistakes at key times have affected the outcome, I think.

"That side of it is really frustrating, but there were a lot of good things, I think, from the performance.

"Playing a top side - I know they've been a little bit inconsistent this year, but they'd just had a big result at home, and they came out with a few changes, a bit of freshness, and I think, generally, first half, we handled it well, without having a big foothold in the game, but without equally looking in too much trouble.

"And then a mistake changes the feel.

"And second half I thought we responded to that really well, I was really pleased with the second half performance."

What in particular was he pleased with?: "We looked to play, we played when we could, I thought we looked effective, particularly second half, obviously, the shape was good, the defensive responsibility was good largely, and there was an edge to the performance, which you need.

"You're not always playing the super powers, and this lot have been up and down, but made changes and brought in top, top players, so they're still a force and it's still difficult to play against these teams.

"But I think we did really attempt to ask questions and I was really pleased with that."

Burnley struggled to create any clear-cut openings, but kept going, and Dyche added: "I thought it was more than that (digging in), I thought we kept playing, asking questions, we looked to try and affect the game with passing and movement, equally looked to affect the game with set pieces, we could play long, and that's what I want, to ask as many questions as possible, it's just we couldn't find that killer moment, and if we did, you never know.

"If we nick that first goal second half, you never know.

"At the end, they get a breakaway, and that sometimes happens when you're flooding their box."

Burnley have only scored three goals in their last seven games now, having largely scored their way out of trouble over the second half of last season, and continued that form to some extent this term through Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes.

But Dyche noted: "The thing is, you can't give these sides and the quality of players the chances we've given them in the last couple of games.

"We had a spell early season, the Liverpool game we made three mistakes and they scored three goals, it's just unfortunate it's come against the real clinical sides - some of the other sides, you might get away with it.

"But not against these, or rarely.

"But, before the game, I was looking on the calendar year, 52 points in 38 games - we only got 54 when we got into the Europa.

"So, the bigger picture of what we're trying to achieve is there, but, of course, it still doesn't take away the disappointment of losing here or the other day.

"But even I have to pull my head out of the sand and look from last Christmas to this Christmas, we've moved a long way.

"But we've got to keep going, for sure, but the mentality was excellent, particularly second half."

Former United youngster Dwight McNeil won the sponsors' man of the match award, and stood out after a couple of quieter performances: "I was pleased with Dwight again, he's learning, the other day he made a mistake, but I spoke to him about it, there's no big drama, no shouting or screaming, it's just an education.

"He's just turned 20, the kid, and he's doing marvellously well."

McNeil got more involved when floating off either flank and off the front, as Burnley went 4-2-3-1 for a spell in the second half, although that system was shortlived, as Dyche explained: "We changed the shape, and then, we thought it might affect us because we were on the up, and we sort of went quiet again, so we put it back to what has been very strong for us, and I thought we delivered a stronger period again when we put it back, and Jay (Rodriguez) did well.

"Barnesy and Woody are carrying knocks, but are getting on with it, but Jay looked fresh and sharp.

"Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) is getting back into full fitness, Robbie (Brady) again came on, so, physically, some strong performers again."

And Ben Gibson and Aaron Lennon are closing in on a return to the thinking: "Gibbo will hopefully be fit from Monday onwards. Azza has been off ill."