Burnley boss Sean Dyche has labelled the club’s return to the Premier League as ‘historic’.
Goals from Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly in a 2-0 win over play-off hopefuls Wigan Athletic at Turf Moor sealed automatic promotion from the Championship and a return to England’s top tier after a four-year absence.
Dyche has used just 23 players in all competitions this term and rebuilt the squad on a shoe-string budget - after losing leading scorer Charlie Austin to QPR before a ball was even kicked - but the Clarets have defied the odds to get back to the ‘Promised Land’.
“I think it’s historic,” he said. “The challenges of the Championship are getting harder and harder because clubs who are getting relegated are getting richer and richer and others are getting richer by their backers.
“To do it automatically is something that’s getting harder and harder. To amass the points we have with a small budget in the grand scheme of this division, and using 23 players, I think is incredible.
“I’m not sure those sorts of markers will be done again. I’m unbelievably delighted, it’s a marker in history. This achievement might be a marker, not only for the football club, but for the bigger picture of Championship football. We’ve built something here that’s marvellous.”
Dyche won promotion four times as a player - with Chesterfield, Bristol City, Millwall and Northampton Town - but it was the first time as a manager in the embryonic stages of his career.
“It feels marvellous - it’s the destination at the end of an impressive journey from a group of people who are totally motivated and committed to stand the test of the season,” he added.
“I was promoted four times as a player so I know what it feels like and what it takes. For me as a manager it’s just an incredible feeling so early in my career. I’m still learning so to guide a group of people to this moment is a major achievement for me and my staff, the players and the club.
“To say that we get here with two games to go and amass 89 points - that’s a surprise. But to say that we’ve been competitive in every game that we’ve played in - that’s no surprise. That was our marker and that’s why it was authentic saying it was ‘one game at a time’. We couldn’t guarantee anything.”