Dyche looks back on superb 2016

Clarets boss Sean Dyche was delighted to round off a successful year with a superb 4-1 win over Sunderland.

Saturday, 31st December 2016, 6:38 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:12 pm
Clarets boss Sean Dyche and goal heroes Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray
Clarets boss Sean Dyche and goal heroes Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray

In a year which saw Burnley go the second half of the season unbeaten to finish as Championship winners, the Clarets brought the curtain down on 2016 with a seventh home win in the Premier League to move to 23 points, nine clear of the bottom three.

A hat-trick from Andre Gray and an Ashley Barnes penalty saw off a sorry Sunderland, and Dyche said: "The team were full deserving with their performance, and I think it's a very strong way to finish off a very important calendar year.

"I think David Moyes called it well before the game, he said he didn't feel we were a team of individuals and superstars, not being disrespectful, but we try and be a real team, who can work as a team, and it doesn't guarantee you anything, but it gives you a better chance.

"There was a lot of that on show, and some quality as well, because you need that at this level to try and open teams up."

Gray claimed the headlines with his second senior hat-trick, building on his Boxing Day winner against Middlesbrough, but Barnes was hugely influential, having a hand in all three of his goals: "I thought the two of them were a real threat, I'm really happy with the decision to go with them, but Vokesy is unlucky at the moment.

"They were a real handful. I like to go with two strikers, we have played around with it, changed it this season, but generally, I do like to play with two, and they caused enough trouble to earn the right to score their goals, and good goals in different ways."

Gray has endured a difficult first season at this level, with his goal against Boro his first since August, but he looked full of confidence against the creaking Black Cats: He's still a work in progress and it can only add to his confidence levels and belief playing at this level.

"I don't think any player just arrives in this league and you roll out and learn instantly, some maybe, but it takes time.

"Steven Defour is still adapting to what it offers, and Andre is the same.

"He's had an unbelievable journey the last four seasons, and he will continue to learn, all our players are learning.

"He was quiet the other day but he sticks in there and waits for his chance.

"He works for his chance, and when it comes, he has that lovely knack of scoring, and the freedom to miss.

"I think he has that fearless streak in him, if he misses, so what, give me another and I'll try and stick that away.

"He has a real firm mentality. I don't overthink it with him, but he has that knack and belief in scoring goals.

"We've got goals around the team, but you don't want your strikers scoring, and they want to be scoring. It's good news if they are."

Jon Flanagan was missing with a knee problem, and will have a scan this week.