Burnley boss Sean Dyche is delighted with how his squad have adapted to life in England’s top tier.
The Clarets boasted the Championship’s best defensive record last term with just 37 goals conceded in 46 outings, including 19 clean sheets.
And the Premier League newcomers have increased their work-rate once more to compete among the country’s elite.
After keeping three successive clean sheets in draws against Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Sunderland, only Southampton and Wolves can better the four league goals that the Clarets have conceded across the four divisions, while Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday equal that tally.
“We’re very happy with our physicality,” Dyche said. “As ever the players are going harder for longer than what they were last season. That shows they’re adjusting to the way the Premier League works pretty well. We obviously want to maintain and build on that.
“Naturally work rate can be considerably higher or slightly higher, but it’s higher in distances covered purely because the ball stays in play for longer. The quality rises so the ball stays physically within the playing surface for longer periods.
“Statistically, in the Premier League, if for arguments sake the game lasts for 95 minutes the ball is in play around, for arguments sake, 58 to 60 minutes. You might only touch it for 45 seconds to a minute-and-a-half. It’s fair to say in that circumstance that you’ve got to have the physical capacity to deliver the rest of the performance away from the ball.”
The Clarets haven’t found the net in 526 minutes of football ahead of Sunday’s fixture with West Brom. The Baggies, who haven’t lost to Burnley at The Hawthorns since slipping to Steve Kindon’s strike in 1969, go in to the game on the back of victories over Spurs and Hull City. However, Dyche feels his group have built a platform to go on and win games.
“I’m absolutely pleased with them,” he said. “They’re dealing with what it is to be in the Premier League, they’re staying calm and assured in the way that we play. We’re forging chances on goal - with 17 attempts at goal on Saturday with nine on target. Now’s the moment of truth for that cutting edge, the final finish.
“There’s lots of different ways to score a goal and we’ve got to make sure that we’re working and giving the players every chance of scoring any type of goal in order to win.
“Behind the results there has to be a future in the way the team operates and I think there is at the moment. That now has to lead to wins because that’s the nature of the job that we do.”
Meanwhile, Dyche wasn’t able to give a prognosis on David Jones after the midefielder picked up an injury against the Black Cats.
With Jonah we’ll have to wait and see on his fitness but that’s settled down quickly,” he said. “We’ve still got another couple of days to decide.”