Burnley boss Sean Dyche in more positive mood ahead of new season
Burnley may have had another tough transfer window to date.
But ahead of his side’s Premier League opener against Brighton, Sean Dyche isn’t the frustrated figure he appeared at the start of last season.
Burnley have so far only been able to bring in centre back Nathan Collins from Stoke City and keeper Wayne Hennessey from Crystal Palace, but Dyche’s outlook seems more positive.
There was friction behind the scenes last summer, with then chairman Mike Garlick not backing Dyche in the transfer market, while the takeover of the club was being ironed out.
And while Dyche is yet to sign a new contact, with his deal into the last year, he and new chairman Alan Pace seem to be on the same page, as regards the direction the club is moving in.
Burnley started last season with no new faces, while James Tarkowski and Ben Mee were both out injured, Tarkowski having been the subject of a number of unsuccessful offers from West Ham and Leicester.
Dyche’s hand is stronger ahead of this afternoon’s game in terms of injury, with only Kevin Long and Dale Stephens missing, and Dyche admitted: "Last pre-season was very difficult, I'd never seen anything like it, and unfortunately it did carry on for most of the season.
"Everytime we thought we were getting everyone back, we got another two or three injuries, so we're hoping for a better show of that this season, of course, but there are no guarantees because they are human.
"We'll see if the game schedule affects that, see if the extra break affects that, and take whatever comes.
"You have to manage whatever comes your way, and thankfully at the moment - long may it continue - we have lots of players fit rather than injured.”
While, on the face of it, Burnley are yet to strengthen their first team, what they always have in their favour if they are more than the sum of their parts under Dyche, who is rarely afforded the luxury of having to gel a number of new signings together: "I think the different challenge of it is, say you're a manager who has brought in lots of bodies, they have to fathom out and buy into what you do, and become a structured team.
"That's rarely happened to us, obviously, so the opposite side of that is the players should understand the ways we work and the detail - we have to freshen that up and keep them sharp and remind them, but it's served them and us well.
"We always try to add to it, but usually you are adding to it with players who bring a different way of playing.
"I've spoken to many older and wiser managers than me, who often said about changing styles, and it has often been brought about by player signings, and the players have gripped it and changed slightly how the team operates, by their natural playing style.
"You kind of self-coach the team by not physically coaching it, hands off, you back off and let it mould itself sometimes.
"But in terms of familiarity, the players know and respect each other, they know the work and the detail required.
"There's a mixture there.”
So often the media’s focus is on the individual in the Premier League, but with Burnley, the team is the star.
However, Dyche feels the days of the one-man team are long gone: "People only get carried away with individuals when you have like really powerful ones.
”Most people in football understand the whole team has to operate.
"The days of Maradona carrying Napoli to the title - and by the way, there were some players in that side - are few and far between.
"You still have top players at elite clubs, you could argue van Dijk, a fantastic player, and Liverpool didn't look quite the same without him...most people think of forward players, number 10s, wide forwards, so I use that an an example of when a real super power player, in my opinion, can affect what's around them.
"But most teams are a team, built of very good players, not just an individual, and we certainly have to be a team, with all eyes and noses pointing in the same direction to get results.”
Talking of teams and squads, and Premier League sides can use three of nine substitutes this season, something which amused Dyche: "I just think they want to keep as many players involved as they can, so let's make a rule to allow more subs.
”It allows managers to manage massive squads. Three from nine? I don't know where it is, special teams will be next!”