Burnley's mentality has changed when it comes to taking on sides like Manchester City, says boss Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche says that Burnley's mentality has completed shifted when it comes to approaching games against the Premier League's elite.
With the Clarets enjoying their fourth season in the top flight in succession, and their fifth in six, the Burnley boss believes his players have matured into the division.
City, champions for the past two seasons, have been up against it during their last two visits to Turf Moor.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson earned the home side a point in February 2018 while goal-line technology came to Sergio Aguero's aid last term as the Argentinian's strike was adjudged to have crossed the line by a matter of millimetres.
“I think the difference is we’ve just matured a little bit into the Premier League," said Dyche. "The players are maturing all the time.
"I think in regard to the Premier League I’d like to think there is a little bit more of an assured feel of how we go about it year on year.
"It doesn’t guarantee a result but there is that little bit of balance to the feeling in a performance and taking on some of the big teams home and away, that belief rises.
"I thought this year we were excellent at Arsenal. We didn’t get a result, but I thought we were excellent.
"The will and the demand to go and take it on away from home at Arsenal was there for all to see. That kind of grows, that depth of your mentality to take on the game no matter where you are playing.”
Pep Guardiola's side have won just once in their previous five fixtures in all competitions and have conceded in seven of their last eight games.
Injuries to key players, in addition to others falling out of favour with the Spanish boss, has inflicted a sense of vulnerability on the City defence.
However, Dyche doesn't think the defending champions are too far away from where they need to be in the race to defend their crown.
He said: “We will see. Vulnerable is not a word I’ve heard used many times about Manchester City, but I would suggest with a couple of injuries it has maybe affected their unit.
"I don’t think for one second they are anything other than a top side who are hard to break down.
“I don’t think Manchester City are a million miles away, they are further away in points obviously, but actual performances to win games, I don’t think they are far away from where they need to be.”
In an interview with Amazon, who will be screening tonight's clash on 'Prime', Dyche said: “Preparing to beat the top six, not just Man City, is a big ask. It is for everyone in the Premier League, and it is a big ask to just win Premier League games.
“But against them, using Man City as an example, they’ve got so much pace, movement and quality all over the pitch. That edge for them to try and be winners, they’ve shown that by winning leagues.
“I think you’ve got to get your players in the right frame of mind, I think you’ve got to balance out the fact that – I don’t really like the term but the easiest term to use is a ‘free shot’.
"Nobody is really expecting anything from you, so you can go out and deliver your performance without that pressure and expectation.
"But the biggest thing is the mental side of it. It’s a winnable game, so let’s try and win it. That’s personally my mindset, and that’s what I want from the players."