Burnley boss Sean Dyche not getting carried away by Europe talk
Sean Dyche is focused on facing Bournemouth on Saturday – not on a return trip to Europe.
He guided Burnley back to continental competition in 2018, for the first time since 1966/67, when they played in the Europa League qualifiers.
And after taking 10 points from the last 12 available, the Clarets have become part of the conversation as regards European qualification, especially given Manchester City’s two-year UEFA ban.
That could mean fifth place being good enough for the final Champions League slot – with Burnley just six points behind Spurs in that regard.
And the Europa League places could go down to eighth, depending on who wins the Carabao and FA Cups, with the Clarets now two points adrift of Wolves.
Only last month, there were murmurs of discontent among some sections of the fanbase, after seven defeats in nine Premier League games saw the side slip perilously close to the drop zone.
So Dyche, as ever, isn’t getting carried away, and, ahead of the visit of Eddie Howe’s Cherries, said: “The last time we got into the Europa League we had a mentality of just win the next game.
“That is appropriate, once you start over-thinking things, that can be an enemy to you, so our most important game is the next one.
“Four games ago we were getting questioned as if we’re all doomed and everything, so I can assure you, I’ve been in the Premier League long enough to know the ups and downs of it, the ins and outs and the challenges.
“The next game is still the most important one.
“I’ve worked on that way for many years here, and worked on that as a player as well.
“When I was playing, and playing well – which wasn’t very often! – I knew it didn’t owe me the next one.
“The next one you’ve got to play well again, and work to play well.“That’s our mentality, and we’ll stick by it.”
But having guided the Clarets to seventh in 2018, and Europa League football, Dyche at least knows what it takes: “The reality of the challenge of getting into Europe is you have to play hard, play well, and find consistency.
“Consistency is the absolute key.“I think any team in the Premier League is capable of winning games, it’s just finding the consistency, whether that’s through the 95 minutes, or week to week.
“If you do that well enough, you earn the right, like Sheffield United are doing at the moment.
“They are finding a consistent level of points that is getting them points regularly, and they’ve never been miles out of a game.
“They’re hanging on in there at times and finding a way to nick one, and that’s an important factor as well.
“All of us sort of sides, including them, are working on the margins, and you’ve got to get the right side.”