Clarets boss Sean Dyche feels the club is in “a fantastic position” as he celebrates his third anniversary at Turf Moor.
Dyche was appointed as Eddie Howe’s successor on October 30th, 2012, with Burnley 14th in the Championship.
After stabilising things, Dyche then built a promotion-winning side, having been forced to sell top scorer Charlie Austin, and, despite relegation from the Premier League, Burnley sit third in the Championship as they look for an immediate return.
Ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Huddersfield Town, on the back of a second-successive win over Blackburn Rovers, Dyche spoke of his pride at what has been achieved in 36 months at the helm: “With the result last week, for all concerned, it adds to the scenario of the third anniversary, so I’m happy with things on the back of a massive win for the club.
“But I’m really pleased with how things have gone. When I came for my interview, I had to give an idea of how I would work and a projection of what I thought we could achieve.
“And a lot of the stuff I offered to the board has come to fruition.
“I’ve had the support to make things happen, and there are no guarantees, I wasn’t saying we would definitely get to the Premier League, but the idea was to redevelop the club and add to it, and I was really pleased we affected that.
“There were organisational ideas off the pitch, sports science, analysis, all in support of the players, and the ongoing framework of the club, right the way down to the detail within the team.
“There was an expectation of how I could work with the players and to get the best out of them, while winning, and I’m happy with how it’s gone.”
Dyche had a tough first six months or so, with Burnley almost dragged into trouble, but after bringing in his own players and having an all-important first pre-season, the rest is history: “The first aim was to improve what was there. There were things I felt I could, from the outside looking in, and when you get inside, I felt I could affect things, to improve them and make things work better.
“We started building and it went further and quicker than we thought, while cutting £3m off the wage bill and selling Charlie Austin, but being realistic to the situation.
“And we managed to get the group to the Premier League, but our goal was to build something better than what it was before.”
And the Premier League remains the target:”The ongoing goal is to get back to the Premier League. Fans all want their club to climb the ladder, and there are goals and relative achievements along the way, but the Premier League is where it is at in this country, we’ve had a piece of it, and we want to get back there again.
“The fans know the club is in a fantastic position compared to three years ago as a business, with the training ground, and the whole feel of the club is that it has been upgraded.”
The consistency of the side, particularly at this level, has been astonishing, suffering only seven Championship defeats in 62 games, and he admitted: “I’m really happy with the consistency at this level. The challenge in the Premier League was tough, but that is a really positive thing.
“It’s a different level. I think the reality of the Premier League is huge investment makes a huge difference, but outside that, you can affect things in other ways - that’s how we got to the Premier League, by working with and improving your players, finding a level of performance.
“We give them a good environment and culture.
“Last week we didn’t play anywhere near as well as we can, but that’s when the culture and environment is massively important.
“The players have taken ownership of what we have put in place, and run with it, and it becomes real. They have a belief and acceptance of what we have put in place, and it creates that mentality which is serving us well.”
And could this squad be better than the one which won promotion? “It’s a different kind of group, we had to model it slightly differently because there are different players, so we twist it and make it as effective as we can, without going away from the principles and framework.
“It is productive at the moment and there is more to come, which comes with time, working together on a daily basis.
“Who knows whether this group will be better? We’ll see, but it’s certainly productive.”
Burnley look for an eighth win in 11 games at home to Huddersfield tomorrow, and Dyche said: “Huddersfield have been up and down, but I know Chris Powell and they will be organised and he will have them ready.
“It’s a great game for us, we’re back at home, which we enjoy. We want the home form, and away form, to be right, but we enjoy the atmosphere at the Turf.”
Kevin Long and Dean Marney are closing inon a return to the squad after coming through a Development Squad game with Rochdale on Wednesday: “Kev and Deano are doing well. It was Deano’s first game after a couple of weeks off, and he needs more football, but he got 90 minutes, which wasn’t planned, and he did well.
“Kev is more or less right, he’s looking stronger. They are both in good shape physically and mentally.”