Players deserve "massive credit" - Burnley boss Sean Dyche after second top 10 finish in three seasons

Sean Dyche believes his players deserve "massive credit" for a second top 10 finish in three seasons.
Sean DycheSean Dyche
Sean Dyche

A return to European football is now off the agenda, with Burnley unable to finish as higher than eighth - seventh place would mean Europa League qualification, providing Chelsea win the FA Cup.

But, sitting ninth, ahead of Arsenal's trip to Aston Villa tonight, Burnley - who are only below Sheffield United on goal difference - could round off a remarkable campaign with one defeat in 16 league games if they avoid defeat at home to Brighton on Sunday.

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In terms of points this calendar year, only champions Liverpool (38), Manchester City (34) and Manchester United (31) have more than Burnley's 30 points.

This season's form built on the second half of last term where, after sitting 18th at halfway with 12 points, they took 28 from 19 games - which would have placed them ninth in the form table.

Dyche refuses to accept that Burnley, heading into a fifth-successive year in the Premier League and sixth in seven, are established at this level, however: "Every season is a restart.

"I always say that because we can't define that we're a definite Premier League club.

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"But we do challenge every year, we are committed to the cause every year, we want to be competitive, which we have been virtually all season.

"We had a tough spell, well documented, and a possible change of my future was mooted.

"That comes with the territory, but we believe in what we do, myself, my staff and the players and continue to do that.

"People sometimes question us, they sometimes praise us, and we see beyond all that and get on with whatever comes our way."

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But for a small town club without a major backer, to have Burnley in the top 10 clubs in the country two out of three years is a staggering achievement.

Dyche added: "I'm not going to over-egg it, but you think of budgets, finance in the club against the market - I just saw Leeds, fantastic by the way, they've done a brilliant job, but, equally, their accounts suggested they had a £60m wage bill, with bonuses, so it's fair to say that's pretty high in the Championship.

"We're still not there financially, but we're very secure as a club. Finding that balance, along with the team, to go and get wins and do well in the Premier League, it's difficult.

"But we find a way and the players deserve massive credit.

"We just stay resilient and dedicated to the cause."