After culminating September in second spot in the Championship, Clarets boss Sean Dyche has outlined the importance of his squad’s character.
With tightened purse strings Dyche has been heavily reliant on a small group of players, handing starts to just 16 players throughout nine league fixtures with another four making substitute appearances.
But that consistency and familiarity has strengthened the squad’s unity and as a result the Clarets have relinquished only seven points.
“We made it clear to the group that it was important,” said Dyche. “The team ethic, the open mindedness, the togetherness are all paramount. Team building is an easy thing to say but it’s not an easy thing to do. The players have to take ownership of that.
“The respect and the honesty of the group are invaluable qualities because you can’t define how important they are. They have to glue together the tactical and the technical and the physical but that mental approach to performing in training and in games is vital.”
Dyche added: “The facts are we haven’t spent any money and we haven’t got masses of money and a massive budget and the facts are we haven’t got a big squad. But I never use those as excuses. We just talk about what we have got rather than what we haven’t got.
“It clearly focuses everyone; the staff, myself, the team and hopefully the people of Burnley. It’s a never ending challenge in the Championship and we’ve all seen it and we saw it last year. We enjoy it, we look forward to our games but we’re not getting too carried away with it.”
Dyche was understandably optimistic after another convincing performance swept aside the Addicks and cemented a seventh clean sheet of the campaign in all competitions. Now Dyche believes the side has found the perfect balance.
“That’s what everyone is looking for,” he said. “The balance is always the secret; how do you find it, how do you work with the players to find it and understand it? We’re constantly working towards that concept.
“Obviously the front line always gets the headlines but there’s fantastic support from the group. I think we’re defending well and currently Tom Heaton isn’t having masses to do, but he’s made big saves at important times when needed. Everyone is on board with the team ethic and what we’re trying to achieve.”
He added: “It was a very good result and overall a thorough performance. I thought in the first half we were a tiny bit lacklustre by our standards because we’re normally slightly sharper. In the second half we delivered a solid performance to get what we wanted which was a win.
“There were a few scruffy moments but generally we shifted the ball quite well. We opened them up enough to go in 1-0 up at half-time. It was a lovely touch from Vokes, a good cross from Tripps and Ingsy was in the right place at the right time. He’s got a habit of doing that at the moment.”