Burnley boss Sean Dyche looks back on ‘strangely enjoyable season’ after Arsenal defeat

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Sean Dyche admitted it had been a “strangely enjoyable season” after the Clarets brought the curtain down on 2018/19 with a 3-1 defeat at home to Arsenal.


Burnley finished 15th after a terrific second half of the campaign, which saw them claim 28 points, after sitting 18th with just 12 at the halfway mark.

Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche

Dyche takes great pride in the way he, his staff and players were able to make sense of the situation and rectify things, and he said: “We’ve had a lot going on this season and I’m not going to go through it all, but it’s been a big challenge, and from where we were at Christmas to where we are now, is fantastic.

“I don’t throw that word around lightly, it’s a fantastic achievement.

“It’s difficult in the Premier League, we all know that, we’ve all seen sides who have started well and disappeared, and I think the strength and mentality - things that have been built over a long time here - the thing that serves you well isn’t tactics, it’s culture and environment.

“We’ve got a daily basis of protecting what we do, and the players know how to take games on.

“They’ve been super strong mentally when people were asking questions, and they’ve delivered performances to get points on the board.”

He added: “Every season is a tough season, and this definitely was, but it’s kind of been strangely enjoyable, certainly for me as manager, because you’re at stretch.

“We were in bad shape at Christmas, turned that around, I’ve been very pleased with the work of myself, my staff and the players, and the fans.

“They have been calm all year, 12 points from 19 games is not what anyone wants, but I don’t remember too much negativity.

“They have a real positive outlook, they know they have a team, staff and players who will give everything.

“And I think they believe, and they were rewarded for that belief with a strong second half of the season.”

Next season will be a fourth-successive year at Premier League level, and fifth in six years, as Dyche noted: “It’s fantastic in itself, for a club like this where it was when I got here, to where it is now, radical change.

“That’s good for everyone, good for the club, the players, the fans, the board, the town,

“Very pleased with that.”

Looking at the game itself, Burnley arguably had the better of the first half, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice, to earn a share of the Golden Boot.

Ashley Barnes pulled a goal back, before Eddie Nketiah forced a late goal in off Tom Heaton.

Dyche said: “I was pleased with the performance, we certainly took the game on.

“First half we were excellent, actually, probably as good a performance as we’ve had this season, for that half, created chances, looked solid, found that mixed play I talk about, played when we needed to, put the ball forward and asked questions of them.

“But for just the clinical moments, we would probably have been in front, but we weren’t.

“Obviously there was a slip for the first goal, and I didn’t think there was that much lacking in the second half, just both boxes are the key, and they were more clinical.

“We still created chances, so lots to be pleased with the performance, and a good mentality from the players.”

Barnes could have had a first half penalty after being barged over by keeper Bernd Leno, and Dyche smiled: “I don’t know where it’s at...

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