No time to relax for Burnley FC

BURNLEY V BRISTOL CITY GOAL: McCann celebrates his goal.'Photo Ben Parsons

BURNLEY V BRISTOL CITY GOAL: McCann celebrates his goal.'Photo Ben Parsons

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CLARETS boss Sean Dyche insists his side cannot afford to relax despite moving seven points clear of the drop zone with five games remaining.

In a crazy Championship table, Burnley are 11th, eight points shy of the final play-off place, but, conversely, seven from Blackburn Rovers, who occupy 22nd.

However, after a first win in seven home games, beating bottom side Bristol City 3-1 on Saturday, they have given themselves some breathing space ahead of two tricky away games, at Blackpool on Saturday and Leeds a week tonight.

Asked if 54 points is enough to guarantee survival, Dyche said: “Do you know what, I don’t know!

“The Championship is at the maddest I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in and around it a long time.

“All we can do is take care of ourselves. I’ve been talking all along about looking upwards.

“That’s still the message to the players. Enjoy this win because it’s thoroughly deserved and we’ll refocus again.”

There was no sense of panic in and around the club despite a run of one win in 12 games seeing the side slip to within four points from the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s game, and Dyche admitted: “You have belief in what you do. That doesn’t make it easy, but it’s my job as a manager to see through the anxiety.

“I’ve been attempting to do that, see the realities of the club, what we hope to do in future and what we’re trying to build in the medium and long term without forgetting that it’s the immediacy that counts.

“You have to get those wins on the board.

“The players have been terrific throughout all of the questions. They’ve given a lot to whatwe do and been very flexible. So we have had to unlearn what they’ve learnt and re-learn what we want them to do. That sometimes takes time.

“We’re only one loss in seven. I mentioned it the other day and obviously the negative ones went ‘it’s only one win in 12’, but the positive ones like myself said ‘it’s one loss in seven’.

“We’re trying to build something. Take away a few decisions and you’re probably looking at four wins in seven. It’s one of those things. That aside I’m really delighted with the way they went about their business on Saturday and it bodes well for what we’re trying to do.

“That energy the crowd brings makes a difference and there was a positive energy in the camp at large.

“There have been some strange things that have gone against us and that does galvanise people as well.

“That will be an important ongoing thing for the rest of this season because with the madness of the Championship this season you can’t just sit back and relax - it will be time to get ready again and get going again to play next weekend.”

Dyche now wants to end the season strongly and improve on last season’s 13th place and 62-point haul: “It’s only another three points, we want to get as many as we can.

“It’s a strange situation. Because of what’s going on right down at the bottom we’re only two points behind last year’s total at this stage, and we’ve sold a £7m. centre forward (Jay Rodriguez) so there is work that’s been done here and the players are applying themselves correctly.

“There’s more work to do and we want to be proactive over the next games coming.”