Sean Dyche admits it is a poor state of affairs when his side are cast as “naive” for a lack of simulation and failure to intimidate referees.
Burnley have not had a single suspension all season, either for a sending off or under the disciplinary totting-up procedure.
In terms of respect for officials, the Clarets are joint second overall with West Brom, with Liverpool top, and Chelsea ranked the worst behaved.
And as regards FairPlay, Burnley are joint top with West Ham and Liverpool, with the chance of a place in Europe should they finish the season outright leaders.
However, Dyche accepts his players’ good behaviour has sometimes been to their detriment - although he wouldn’t have it any other way.
He said: “I think we play in the right manner. Look back through my history and my teams do, I did myself, despite popular belief. Look at my record, I only got sent off twice in 500 games.
There’s been minimal, if any, simulation from our players. Naively at times, which is sad in the modern gameSean Dyche
“There’s been minimal, if any, simulation from our players. Naively at times, which is sad in the modern game.
“I see it constantly in this league, more so than I ever thought I would. You hope in the future there will be retrospective bans to clear that up, because I don’t think any fan wants to see it.
“We hammer referees at times, all of us, but they’ve got an impossible task there is so much of it.
“We want to play football and we want to win games and we want to do it in the right manner.”
Burnley’s good record has not come after an edict from the manager either: “I’ve never spoke to the players about it at any club I’ve been at about it, not in the manner when we just sit them down, we don’t have meetings about it.
“The one thing we can’t guarantee is decisions, but the one thing we can guarantee is performance, so we focus every bit of our attention on our performance.
“At this level we have been naive at times, in the right way, and that’s sad, I think that’s sad that players just can’t go out and play and get decisions that they should get. We’ve had a couple of them, probably the most obvious one this year is Vokesy’s penalty (against Swansea) when he doesn’t go down. Even on Match of the Day, I think it was Ruud Gullit, saying he hasn’t gone down. “Gary Lineker said ‘hang on a minute, surely he should be applauded for that and the ref should give the penalty anyway’, but he’s saying ‘well yeah but he should still go down’. Where does that leave you? We’re telling players to go down and then complaining about it.
“There’s little kids out there diving around playgrounds. I cannot believe that the British football who watch the Premier League want people simulating and diving. I can’t believe in our psyche we think that would be acceptable.”
After 32 games in the Premier League so far this season, Dyche has been shocked by the scale of diving prevalent: “I have, yeah. On the TV, we all watch games, but you don’t see it as closely you don’t see as much of it. This season there was one right in front of the dugout where he fell over and he was so embarrassed he got up to run after it again.
“I refuse to believe there are football fans out there who enjoy that, certainly British football fans, because in different cultures it’s been accepted for many, many years.
“One prominent manager said to me that you should get your players to move with the times. It’s not my belief that, you should play the game properly.
“We all know the difference, and it’s an important difference I feel because it is a blurry line, but if someone touches you in the box and you go down, that’s always been there, that’s not cheating, that’s gamesmanship, there is a difference.
“We’re on about real simulation. It’s not about clever play, where the keeper comes out and you toe it past him and he clips you, that’s different, I’m on about absolute simulation where there is no contact and people go to the floor.
“I cannot believe that retrospective bans are not in place. If that was my centre half and someone is through and he pulls the shirt, he gets banned.
“It’s the same difference.”
And he believes retrospective action would put an end to simulation: “I’d like to know the reason it hasn’t been brought in, and if it is getting really looked at in depth.
“It’s only because I think morally we talk to our kids about fairness and playing the right way, and yet, in one of the most powerful leagues in the world, there are people dropping everywhere.
“Weirdly, you’ll open a debate about Raheem Sterling, put him all over the papers saying he’s doing this, that and the other, but yet something that is there for all to see every week, is sort of accepted.
“Strange isn’t it?
“It would evaporate out of the game within weeks, because managers who have some amazing players will say ‘we can’t be losing you for three games’.
“There’s enough good people in the game who could sit on a panel objectively, former and current referees and managers, LMA, a broad spectrum judging the really bad ones.
“We’re talking millions and millions of pounds could be won or lost on these decisions, and then the referee gets it in the neck!
“How’s he meant to judge it?”