It wasn’t a 3-0 game, admits Burnley boss Sean Dyche after win at Watford
Sean Dyche admitted it wasn’t a 3-0 game, as his side had the better of the key moments at Vicarage Road to claim their first away win of the season.
After a first half in which they didn’t really get going, Burnley went on to claim a second-successive 3-0 win with goals from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes - from the spot - and James Tarkowski.
It moved the Clarets to sixth in the Premier League table, but Dyche was honest in his assessment of the game: “Personally I thought it was a bit of a game of two halves, first half we were below par and Watford had the edge, without getting peppered.
“We didn’t look clear-minded, and we looked like we were waiting for something to happen rather than making it happen.
“Second half, a really good reaction, for me, for the detail in his work, Nick Pope was excellent, he made saves he’d probably make, but his handling, his aggressive nature in coming off his line to take crosses, they are important factors, particularly as a defensive unit, people often think it’s just about a catch or a bit of calmness, but it spreads a feeling around your team, the opposition think they have a chance and a big monster like him comes and claims it and they haven’t.
“I like the psychology of when keepers play like that.”
Pope, on the back of his first start for England in Kosovo, showed clean hands throughout in tough conditions, and Dyche added: “I was a centre half and it’s a great feeling, it makes a big difference. Goalkeepers can bring a calmness. First half he made a couple of saves I’d expect him to make, and the defensive unit kept us in it, without being peppered, but we couldn’t get a foothold.
“We weren’t where we need to be to win, so that resilience to make sure we stayed intact is important. It’s very difficult dominating games in the Premier League, certainly for us, so therefore if you’re not, you have to stay in it to win it, and second half we got the big moments.
“I honestly don’t think it was a 3-0 performance, Watford gave as good as they got, but you end up taking the 3-0.”
Burnley, without hitting top gear in an attacking sense, scored three, hit the bar and could have had two or three more, but Dyche accepted: “I thought it was a fair reflection of the West Ham game, but today it didn’t feel like a 3-0. Watford gave as good as they got, but key moments were the thing.
“Great finish from Woody, who adjusted his feet at the last second to get a cleaner strike - that’s clever.
“We get a penalty, which I think is, Ben Foster made a couple of good saves, we hit the bar, but it wasn’t like the West Ham game.
“But I’ll take the win, hands down, first away win and all the rest that goes with it.”
Dyche isn’t getting carried away with the position in the table, two seasons after leading the Clarets to seventh and a place in the Europa League: “We have been in that territory a couple of years ago but last year was a reminder of how difficult the Premier League is.
“I don't get carried away with it and I don't think my players get carried away with it.
“But it is there to be enjoyed because it is tough in the Premier League. It is great for our fans who came down here but we have a lot of work to do. It is the story of a season.
“I said that last year when things weren't going so well and we managed to finish strongly and I am still saying it now because I am not naive enough to think being where we are now is a given. It doesn't work like that, I wish it did. It would be handy if they blew the whistle now! I would take it.”
It was a first clean sheet away from home since January, coincidentally at Watford, and a first away win of the season: “I think everyone wants to win home and away. The away record is important for different reasons in the Premier League. If you look statistically, apart from the superpowers, it is very rare for teams to have a better away record than at home in the Premier League.
“So we know the home form is important but if you can nick wins and points away from home over a season it does stack up. It helps you to be relatively successful, for us success is building on last season which we have done so far with points on the board but we have to continue to do it.
“And if you can keep clean sheets away from home then that is a strong sign that you are doing something right because it is difficult. We are pleased with the clean sheet but obviously pleased with the three points.”
Dyche is currently reading the autobiography of Watford honorary life president Sir Elton John, who he got to know in his time at Vicarage Road, and he smiled: “I am listening to Elton's book on my audio book at the moment. He used to talk to me a lot when I was here, he is mad for it.
“He used to ring me all the time as a manager and I still get a text every now and again out of the blue with things like Europe. I doubt it (I will get a text tonight). He is probably busy though. His book is good, I am enjoying it.”