Burnley winger Dwight McNeil getting back to his best, says boss Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche feels Dwight McNeil is getting back to his best.
The 20-year-old wideman extended his Turf Moor contract last Friday, through to the summer of 2024, with the option of a further year.
And he celebrated his new deal with his best performance of the season to date in the goalless draw at West Brom on Monday night, as the Clarets claimed their first point of the Premier League campaign at the fourth time of asking.
McNeil gave Baggies’ right-back Darnell Furlong a torrid time, showing time and again he had the beating of him.
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And while the end product wasn’t quite there, in terms of his crossing and finishing – dragging wide one good chance after a typical surging run – the signs were promising for the England Under-21s international.
He will line up against Spurs at Turf Moor on Monday night looking to build on that performance, and Dyche said: “I was really impressed with Dwight.
“He has not been a million miles away, but he is close to where he wants to be with his performances.
“I thought he was very good, and there were a number of good performances.
“It was a performance that I know was what we are more about. If we score a goal and win, I think most people say it was a good performance.
“It is not just about the performance, but the players are getting their mates back fit and they will get sharper as well.
“Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) will get fitter and sharper as will Barnesy (Ashley Barnes) and Tarky (James Tarkowski), and these players who have been out for a while, and that helps the connection within the group.
“That is important to us.”
He added, after an improved display at The Hawthorns: “We are not a million miles away, but the margins we work on, I thought we were close to getting the right side of.
“I thought we defended very well and resolutely as a team and kept them to minimal chances.
“We worked their keeper and another day score a goal, if not a couple, so much more improved signs on what we are about.
“The importance I have spoken about recently has been in both boxes, and I thought we looked much more alive in both boxes, more alert and much better when attacking.”
And after McNeil joined captain Ben Mee, Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Ashley Westwood in committing themselves to the club, Dyche said: “There are situations that we are looking at sorting out.
“One of the big things I have spoken about over this period is making sure the good players we have stay here, and I have done that and we want to continue to do that.
“We are looking at people’s contracts to make sure they are here and that gives us the freedom to possibly, go and do better in the market.”
After a hugely disappointing transfer window, Dyche was philosophical: “I would say it is the same as it always has been here.
“Money is not easy to come by, and you need that in the market.
“It is a very simple equation, the market doesn’t care for our business model, the market just says if you want to sign players then it will cost you money.
“That has always been the case here, it is not a new story.
“There wasn’t the money available to go and get what we wanted so therefore we had to do whatever we could do and not worry about what we couldn’t do.
“And the other big thing is that we have kept the players who we think are very important players.
“We are looking at the contract situations and trying to renew them and keep that hardcore group that have grown into very, very good Premier League players here.”