Exiting Europa League a blessing in disguise - Burnley boss Sean Dyche

Ashley Barnes rues a missed opportunity as Burnley go out of the Europa League to Olympiakos
Ashley Barnes rues a missed opportunity as Burnley go out of the Europa League to Olympiakos

This time last season, Burnley were bottom of the Premier League with one point from their opening five games.

They had suffered four-successive league defeats as they struggled with their Europa League commitments, adding another six games, and long journeys, to their workload.

Fast forward 12 months, the Clarets have five points from the same number of games, and look far more like themselves, with only domestic football to focus on.

Boss Sean Dyche enjoyed the experience as Burnley returned to continental competition for the first time in 41 years, but admits it was his toughest time at the helm at Turf Moor.

Wolves are without a win after reaching the Europa League group phase this season, while Everton had their struggles two seasons ago.

Dyche feels it was a blessing in disguise Burnley went out before the group stage: “It is a big challenge going through the Europa, it’s amazing in one way, but it is a big challenge.

“It changes the planning, we were very unfortunate with the travel as well, but also the psyche, you see Wolves at the minute, they don’t look like where they were, although they’re the same players roughly.

“It’s so hard to put your finger on it. Everton had a funny year two years ago.

“It just puts a lot on what you are as a team, it stretches you, and so early in the season as well.

“I’m pleased to say we eventually came out of it and, in a kind of healthy way, it’s sad to say, it probably was good we came out of it and we managed to bring it all together again around Christmas and were strong again.

“It’s the most challenging period I’ve had at Burnley in different ways, I’ve had bigger games and bigger moments, but for just purely the challenge of getting the team ready, pre-brief, de-brief, recovery, getting ready to go again, it’s the biggest challenge for me as a manager.”