Sean Dyche hails ‘world class’ save from Nick Pope as Burnley shut out Aston Villa.
The Clarets collected a goal-less draw at Villa Park, as the hosts had 27 shots at goal, but were unable to beat the England keeper, or a defence which continues to look more like the Burnley back line we have become accustomed to.
One save from a first half free kick from Anwar El Ghazi , touching his effort onto the bar, was described as “a proper save” by Dyche, but the rest of his workload was business as usual.
Dyche said of a ninth point from six games: “Not a great result, just a good result I think, in the sense we’ve had to get back to being strong defensively and we’re showing good signs of that - four clean sheets in five away games, which is tough in the Premier League.
“We had a big result and the weekend and you wonder whether that might produce that softening that can sometimes happen, and I thought there was in the first 20 minutes or so.
“But we saw the game through defensively very well, which we’ve had to do many times in the Premier League, and will have to do again.“
Pope played his part in that, and Dyche said of his stop: “It was a top save, it’s up there, a proper save, world class in my opinion.
“The rest of the night mostly I felt he handled himself as I’d expect him to, because he’s a top keeper.
“Most of the other work he did is what you’d expect from him, a couple of clean takes from distance, I was pleased a number of their efforts were from distance, which showed good defensive shape.
“When he’s been called upon recently he’s made big saves.”
Since skipper Ben Mee returned to the side, Burnley have kept four clean sheets in six games, and Dyche noted: “We’ve had to work again tonight on the defensive side, but we’ve had to do that many times.
“We maybe softened slightly over the 90-odd minutes from the performance at Arsenal, but that’s a little bit understandable.
“They are doing the basics well, and that has been important to us each season in the Premier League.
“We've done that again, good shape, energy and commitment to the cause, which has been first class.
“Now we have to find the balance of opening up the team enough to make sure we have a chance to score more goals.”
Goals have been hard to come by, but again the side got into good positions, mainly in the first half, when Chris Wood forced a fine save from a header, Dwight McNeil went box to box on a mazy run and was challenged just as he was about to shoot, and Ashley Westwood clipped an effort just wide.
Dyche said: “I think the key with chances...we all throw stats out there, including myself, but there has to be detail in the stats, and a lot of their efforts were controllable efforts, I call them, when the team have controlled the situation.
“They did have some good chances as well, as you would expect from a home side who have generally been going well.
“First half particularly we had some brilliant moments, but this is where we’ve got to tidy up, we had a couple of key moments when the final moment of a pass or finish, they are the things we have to tidy up on.
“We got in some really good areas, and we have done over the season so far, but those final moments, we have to be more clinical and detailed, because e have a base to work on, not only the way the team are operating, but we have bodies coming back and they are getting truly fit.
“The defensive side of it we’ve altered and they’re doing well with it.
“Now it’s that balance, getting our strikers firing.
“But we want to make it happen rather than wait for it to happen, that’s the key.”
One moment of controversy saw Jack Grealish shove over James Tarkowski, after the centre back made a fine block tackle on the Villa skipper.
It certainly warranted at least a yellow card, but Grealish went without punishment, and, after Mohamed Elneny got away with shoving Tarkowski in the throat at Arsenal on Sunday, Dyche sighed: “Do you know, I’m not interested. I’ve no clue what’s happening in the game at the moment.
“I’ve spoken clearly with my views about the good of the game, but I don’t think many people are particularly interested.
“The officials can do whatever they want to do and we’ll just hope we get parity of decisions over a game, which we didn’t tonight, that’s for sure.”