Sean Dyche: Clarets won't ease off
Burnley have undoubtedly raised the bar following their achievements in the Premier League this term, pushing to within five points of sixth placed Arsenal with 15 games remaining, and Dyche is keen to manage that shift in expectations.
The 46-year-old former Chesterfield and Watford defender understands the magnitude of the challenge ahead, he’s more than aware of the strength of the division, but his ambition will naturally keep him wanting the best. Asked if expectations had exploded, he said: “Expectations from afar have. I think the fans are enjoying it but I don’t think they’re getting carried away, they know it’s a building process, they’ve seen the club build over five seasons.
“They know there’s still a reality to the challenge, we’re still fighting against the big guns, the gap in finance is still massive.
“I don’t think they’re worried about it, it’s more can we keep going and keep maintaining it?
“There’s been a couple of things that have gone against us, decisions or injuries, but there’s no excuse in that.”
Dyche added: “I think there’s an appropriate amount of expectation, not always, I think the game has changed, often there’s mad expectation.
“But mostly it’s in line with us. Were people expecting us to be seventh? No, so therefore they’re delivering a good season. I think that’s fair. I think our fans will look at it like that.
“But that doesn’t mean we settle for it, that’s not the case at all, that’s what I reminded the players. We’re not settling for that but there has to be a reality to it.”
Burnley’s loss against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park condemned the club to a sixth game without a win in the top flight.
However, Dyche put that sequence in to context with the club sat in seventh spot and eight points clear of the Hornets in mid-table.
“You have your own internal pressures way more than anybody could write about,” he said. “The players should have that and I think ours do, there’s an authenticity to it and an honesty to it.
“There’s a lot more demand on me to continue pushing them and then they push each other. That doesn’t go away.
“I want to finish as high up the PL as I can, so do the players and so does the club. That doesn’t change, but it has to be balanced out with where the reality of football is and our part in that. But there’s no settling for less.”
He added: “Before this we’d won three out of four. There’s always an urgency to perform and get points regardless of your runs.
“If you add this run into the rest of the season you’d actually go ‘it’s still a fantastic season’. That has to be put in the melting pot.
“Early season we were the right side of the margins, the margins are still tight but now we’re not the right side of them.
“We’re not a team that have been winning 4-0, so the margins are tight in any given game. You only need a decision to go against you or a couple of injuries to go against you and the margins can shift.”