Burnley might have to go through short-term pain against the big six, to make long-term gains in the Premier League, as Sean Dyche looks for his side to be more progressive.
The Clarets restored Robbie Brady to the side for his first senior action since December, while Steven Defour made his first Turf Moor appearance since January on Sunday against unbeaten Chelsea.
It ended in a 4-0 reverse, the biggest home defeat of Dyche’s reign - which passes the six-year mark this week.
But Dyche had looked for his side to be more offensive and open up against the Blues, as he looks for his players to continue to grow at this level.
Asked whether Burnley are making themselves as hard to beat as they have done previously, Dyche noted: “You could look at it and we are actually, as part of our development, saying ‘can we actually come and beat some of these teams?’
“If you don’t, there is a price to pay.
“If you open up and try and play, be progressive, then you can pay the price.
“But we have to keep moving forward.
“The challenge isn’t about these (Chelsea), it’s about being in the Premier League and moving forward.
“If we just stand still, and accept ‘oh well’, we could bank in, play one up front, no one runs past the ball, just try damage limitation and keep it down to one.
“Okay, that might get you nothing, but you haven’t learned anything.
“On another week, we won’t play against these, against teams with the same athleticism, the same quality - still good sides, but not as good as these.
“Therefore, if you’re practicing this against the best, and then you play someone not quite as good, in theory, then you maybe make more chances, more goals.
“But if you’re not practicing it ever, it’s fair to say it’s difficult to get better.”
The perception is the gap between the Big Six and the rest of the league has only grown since Leicester City won the title in 2015/16.
Indeed, so far this season, the sides who finished outside the top six last term – from Burnley down – plus the newly-promoted clubs, have only taken 13 points against the Big Six, who have won 115.
That is some disparity, and Dyche accepted: “I think the anomaly of Leicester winning the league - and obviously our hearts go out to them for what happened there - since then, the superpowers have got back to what they are.
“Manchester United are the only ones really not in a position where you think they would be.
“Forever spending, forever improving. Chelsea brought on two World Cup winners at the end, that’s an interesting situation...
“They continually push and push, as we do, but at a different level of the market.
“It’s very, very difficult.”