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Win was one of most pleasing of the season

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Clarets boss Sean Dyche felt the win over Stoke City was “probably one of the most pleasing of the season”.


Burnley moved into the Champions League places, for 24 hours at least, after a late winner from Ashley Barnes at Turf Moor.

Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche

It was a moment of quality in a game which wasn’t for the aesthetics, on a night where the temperatures continued to plummet, and icy rain and howling winds made life difficult.

Dyche said: “It was a really hard night, a really awkward game with the weather and the feel of it, and it was a grind, to be honest, for both teams.

“I was super pleased because they’ve come off a tough result and had to give a response, and I think they did.

“We weren’t quite at the races in the early part of the game, and we had to work out way back into the game, and came more into it in the second half.

“Credit to them, they’ve come off a bad result and changed their shape, and were cleverly direct into Crouch and played that well, and effectively, and we’ve had to defend really well.

“I don’t think we let them have too many chances, but we had to defend the feel of the game well.

“So really pleased, there’s other games where we’ve played a lot better and won, and we’ve had to grind and find those margins tonight, but in all of that, a moment of real quality.

“A great ball from Jack Cork into the front, fantastic play between Barnesy and Scott, simple but effective, and Barnesy’s final touch and hit, I think that’s an absolutely top drawer hit.”

Barnes came off the bench to have a big impact: “He is an awkward customer, and it’s hard, it wasn’t a great game by any means, but the conditions were as bad as I’ve seen in a long time.

“The wind is swirling, the rain is all over the place, the pitch is taking a battering, but I’m really pleased with that result, it’s probably one of the most pleasing of the season in different ways.”

Left back Stephen Ward came off with a bang on his knee, while Burnley were without Ben Mee and Matt Lowton again, and Dyche added: “We’ve has injuries, people come off the pitch tonight, and the squad mentality is good, the willingness and desire of the players to take it on, and I believe in all of them.

“That’s helping with that whole feel of the situation.

“The fans can enjoy it, enjoy talking about what they want, I know it’s business as usual, because there’s another big game on Saturday.

“The big thing for me as I’ve said, is are we moving forward? Not just as an XI but as a squad.

“When you have to make that many changes before and during a game, and they go and keep their shape, play, work, keep diligent to their jobs, and those fine moments of quality, that’s all you can ask of players, and they gave a different kind of terrific performance in different ways to make sure we got a result.”

Dyche wouldn’t be drawn by his side moving fourth in the table, simply focusing on inching things forward and looking ahead to the trip to Brighton at the weekend: “I think the challenge for me, year on year is to keep it moving forward. Every year we try and move it forward, layer it on, on and off the pitch, and I think we’re doing that.

“There’s clear signs the group are getting stronger, and more assured. The league doesn’t lie, but it’s unpredictable we are where we are, just because of how good the other teams are, not because we’re not a good team.

“But we’ve earned the right to be where we are, we enjoy that, but we know the next game comes quickly and we have to be ready.”

Asked whether he was proud of achieving the club’s highest league position since 1975, he added: “I’m proud of a lot of things, not just the league position, how the club’s been managed from top to bottom, how were bringing it forward each season, we’ve worked very hard to create records, but they are markers in time, not about all the things you don’t see, all the little details, work for, myself, my staff and the players to keep this club moving forward.

“I’m proud of all of that, when a bad day comes, you’re still proud, it’s not as easy job we have to do.

“I’m proud, super proud, prouder than the proudest man in proudsville!

“Markers in time and records are great to look back on, but in 20 years or so, it’s more about the next game for me.

“We don’t want to take anything for granted because the game owes you nothing. We’re on a gray run again, but the next one owes you nothing.”