Burnley boss accepts next five games are vital

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Burnley's Robbie Brady''Photographer Rob Newell/CameraSport''The Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley - Saturday 15th December 2018 - Wembley Stadium - London''World Copyright � 2018 CameraSport. All rights reserved. 43 Linden Ave. Countesthorpe. Leicester. England. LE8 5PG - Tel: +44 (0) 116 277 4147 - admin@camerasport.com - www.camerasport.com
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Sean Dyche accepts the next five games are crucial to his side’s survival hopes.

Burnley entertain Everton on Boxing Day, before West Ham visit Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Clarets then travel to fellow strugglers Huddersfield Town on January 2nd, and, after the FA Cup tie at home to Barnsley, comes a home clash with bottom side Fulham on January 12th.

Dyche’s former club Watford are next up at Vicarage Road on January 19th.

Burnley have started to put performances together of late, but have still lost eight of their last 10 league games, and Dyche knows it is about finding a way to get some results in their current predicament.

Dyche said: “I think the five games coming up are big – three of the last four have been against the big guns and we know that’s tough – you can play well and still get beat.

“Everton are probably still sneaking around the back of that, but the next five are games where we have to start taking points.

“Performances have been pretty strong, but we have to take points from the coming games, without a doubt.”

To that end, Dyche hopes to be boosted by the return of wingers Robbie Brady and Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who both sat out the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal: “The two wide men went down on Friday morning, they were fine, we thought they were going to be fine, but with the amount of games over this little perod, we just couldn’t risk them.

“That was the idea of calling it, to give them a better chance for Boxing Day.

“And that led to a change of shape, but that change worked, we still delivered a performance.

“It’s just unfortunate we get just about to full fitness, we get injuries.

“The good thing is young Dwight (McNeil) and Ali Koiki get a look at what it’s all about, in the dressing room, out on the pitch, a good experience.”

Steven Defour has not played since the 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace, and Dyche added on his chances: “Steven? Possibly. I think the other two more so.”

Burnley did the double over Everton last season, but under Marco Silva, they are a different animal altogether: “I don’t think you can go off previous occasions, they’re still a good side, still have their moments of being up and down, but generally have been delivering. They look organised, they look ready for the games, and it makes it a tough task.

“They are arguably the ones who have been pushing behind the Big Six, there are teams this year having a nibble at it, but year on year, Everton are spoken about generally, they’ve spent a lot, trying to oush to get into the six, if you like, and I think they are the closest ones, it seems to me.

“They have the financial power and can continue to add season after season.”