‘I have no point to prove’ - Burnley boss Dyche
Dyche guided tomorrow’s visitors to 11th place in the Championship last season - their highest finish in four years - before the Pozzo family bought the club in the summer and dispensed with his services.
Dyche, a player, youth coach, assistant boss and then manager at Vicarage Road, said: “I sort of compartmentalise my career, I had a great time there, but there’s no will to brush them aside or prove a point.
“I’m just not like that - I wasn’t like that as a player going back to old clubs, people asking me was it a big game - it was just another game.
“I don’t do that emotional thing. There’s a time and place for reflecting on that, and it’s not now, it will be many years to come.
“I’ve had a reasonable attachment to all the clubs I’ve been at, but I’m Burnley now, that’s it, end of.
“I’m Burnley manager and I want to give everything I can to this project we’ve got going here.
“It’s just another big game where we want to get the three points.
“I don’t think any more deeply about it than that.”
He has quickly learned that the only game that means more than most in these parts is the derby with Blackburn: “It’s just the way I go about my business, I’m not madly emotional. I’m a deep thinker, but not about that. I don’t want to win the game any more because it’s Forest or Watford, it’s just to win that game.
“The only difference is the Blackburn game because it means so much to everyone. I’m beginning to understand the history and the feel for that type of game.
“But my reasons for winning never fluctuate.
“They’re all important games, the reality is every game deserves serious attention, in my way of dealing with football, and it’s how I want my teams to play because there’s always an end outcome, to win.”
Watford will be a hugely different side to the one Dyche left - with 14 loan players, including nine from Udinese and two from Granada, clubs also owned by the Pozzos.
And Dyche added: “There’s only three or so playing on a weekly basis from the squad we have with all the loan players, so they’re a different animal now.
“They’ve suddenly found wealth and an influx of players - I think they have 40-plus professionals.
“Ironically, when I was there it was felt we had too many with around 30!
“We weren’t playing enough youth players either, and hardly any are playing now, only Tommy Hoban, who was a young player we developed.
“It’s a different vehicle and way of doing their business, and every club has it’s own way - there’s no right or wrong, it’s just finding the way that’s appropriate for every club.”
Burnley have won three, drawn two and lost three under Dyche, and have one win in six - although, conversely, they have only lost one in four, and he is encouraged by the performances of his players - and high praise indeed from Sir Alex Ferguson: “We’re looking for a response to the defeat at Nottingham Forest and to give a performance worthy of a win.
“At the moment, I don’t think we’ve got the points we’ve deserved - we’ve had three big refereeing decisions go against us in the last six games. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact.
“But I’m a great believer in making and earning your own luck, and our performance levels in general have been acceptable, especially in terms of keeping the ball.
“A lot has revolved around nearly and not quite, however. We’ve been creating chances and haven’t given too much away, it’s about dealing with things in our own box and making sure we’re clinical at the other end.
“We’re not far away though - Sir Alex told me he was thrilled with how we played against Blackburn when I saw him after the youth game at Old Trafford, so that’s not bad to hear!
“We’ve changed the framework slightly and made ourselves a harder unit to beat, and because the goals aren’t coming as freely, people suggest you’re not making chances, but we are - statistically we are as well.
“We feel it will come though, we have good players and good technicians.”
Tomorrow’s game comes with a special ticket offer, revolving around the idea of “Dychember”, for the return of his former club, and some masks with his distinctive ginger goatee beard.
Dyche smiled: “It’s a bit of fun from the media department, a play on words, but it’s a good idea to bring a bit of spirit.
“They’ve had a bit of fun with the masks - I’ve seen pictures of dogs with them on, babies, some of the players messing around, so that’s what it’s all about.
“But it’s good for people to see we are approachable, we do care about the club, and conecting with the fanbase is really important.
“Wins make it feel any better, but it’s just a bit of personality coming out, knowing we can have a bit of fun.”