"Refreshing" to see some physicality allowed back into football - Burnley boss Sean Dyche
Premier League officials have, on the back of Euro 2020, introduced new instructions, to allow the game to be more free-flowing, letting smaller, niggly challenges go.
Bar the odd high-profile critic – with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp saying after Burnley’s 2-0 defeat at Anfield last month: “I am not 100% sure if we are going in the right direction with these decisions, if we go 10-15 years back.
“We have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If people say, ‘That’s a challenge, I love watching that’, then watch wrestling!”
Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solksjaer added after their 1-1 draw at Southampton: “We can’t go from one extreme, from volleyball or basketball last year, to rugby.”
The new interpretation of the rules has, however, otherwise been roundly praised.
And Dyche, who has often been a lone voice in the Premier League against simulation, and where the game was heading, punishing physicality.
Burnley have set a new Premier League record for the number of games without a red card, now at 96 – and Dyche said of the praise for how referees have handled games so far this season: “For actually giving us the game back?! Brilliant, that’s superb.
“That would suggest my words were at least down the correct path.
“I think it’s refreshing for all fans, to see referees at the Euros were allowing some things to go, allowing some physicality back into the game.
“We all know, the days of running around putting in mad tackles...it just doesn’t happen.
“So we’re still just talking about minor physicality, but it’s refreshing to see people falling on the floor are not getting a foul, and there have been bookings for simulation.
“So it looks like a shift forward.
“It’s early to say in the Premier League, but they’ve told us they’re going to be looking down that road, the really soft stuff isn’t given, really soft physicality isn’t given, and maybe they can do something about screaming next and maybe I’ll stop moaning!”
The Clarets, despite their remarkable disciplinary record, have a reputation of being ‘rugged’.
So does Dyche feel the new reading of the game could play into Burnley’s hands moving forward?: “I’ve never been worried about it (our physicality being punished), it’s just the way it is, the way football has gone.
“I think it’s about the good of the game, that’s why I’ve been on my soapbox about it, for the good of what it stands for, the good of professionalism, gentlemanly conduct, playing the right way, and mostly the good of the future of the game for our children.”
“That’s always been my thinking, not about us, the greater good of the game.”