Sean Dyche proud of Burnley’s disciplinary record, as Ashley Westwood suffers rare suspension
Ashley Westwood sits out Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace through suspension after collecting a fifth yellow card at Watford.
But while Sean Dyche looks at the best way to replace the former Aston Villa midfielder, he admits his side’s Premier League disciplinary record is a cause for celebration.
Bans are rare under Dyche - in a game where you can be booked for next to nothing nowadays, it is almost a year since the Clarets lost a player through suspension.
Robbie Brady was dismissed at Huddersfield Town, coming shortly after Matt Lowton sat out the West Ham game under the totting up process.
In December 2017, James Tarkowski served a retrospective ban after an incident at Brighton, but you have to go back to Jeff Hendrick at Watford in February 2017 for the previous sending off.
Lowton in December 2016 was again banned for five bookings, the first suspension the club suffered in 20 months, after Ashley Barnes was sent off at Everton in April 2015.
You can add Ben Gibson’s ludicrously harsh red card at Olympiakos in the Europa League in August 2018, but Burnley’s fair play record under Dyche is exemplary.
Dyche won’t stand for anything else, as he said: “The only grievance I’ve got is Westy got booked last week for lining up a wall, which is a strange one, even in my world. I thought that was a bit peculiar.
“But we attempt to do the right things as a group, I may moan at the referees and fourths, but I don’t think you see many of the players moaning, other than an honest, human reaction.
“I can’t recall that many incidents with referees with my players, not should there be, I don’t want that.
“We attempt to play the game in the right manner, we’re certainly not into some of the things that go on in football these days, let’s say.
“Play hard, but play fair, do the right things. It’s becoming a non-physical game, but it’s still semi-physical, you’ve got to be strong enough to challenge, strong enough to play to win, and not go overboard, and I don’t think many of ours go overboard.
“Therefore you keep your cards down the best you can.”
Dyche added: “Just play the game, I know they mess around with the rules and details sometimes and all of us are baffled by it, but generally speaking, the players know what the script is, get on with the game, don’t interfere with referees and linesmen, that’s what we encourage.
“Have that focus on the game.
“There are times when there’s a human reaction, and that’s different, we all have a human reaction to certain situations that go against us, but I’m on about the ones you can control - just stay away from it.
“If a referee makes a decision, get on with the game and focus on your job.”
Dyche himself was only sent off twice in his career, at odds with the perception of him as a rugged centre back: “That’s a popular misconception - I didn’t get many cards.
“Because I look how I look, people will say ‘you were on at the fourth’, but actually, I very rarely swear, never call the officials names - I’m usually remonstrating about a decision.
“As a player I didn’t see the point in it, I don’t really see the point of it now.
“On the pitch, your focus is on the game.
“Can you remember when they brought in the rule where you got booked for kicking the ball away? I once got booked for that.
“But I’ve never been suspended, for bookings, three was the most I had - strange for a crazy centre half!
“I was sent off once for two yellows, and one was a bad tackle, right at the end of my career, because I was slow.
“It was a poor tackle, the lad went off with gas and air, on a stretcher, and played the next week...everyone was ‘what a terrible tackle!’ but I was ‘did anyone notice he played the next week?’
“It might have been just on the cusp of change in football, because everyone is ever so injured now...”