Good signs from Burnley at Wigan - Dyche

Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche

Sean Dyche felt his side showed good signs in their 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic.

Burnley led 2-0 through early goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil, as they carved the hosts open time and again in the opening half hour.

Former Claret Paul Cook’s men responded well to level through Anthony Pilkington and Joe Geldhardt, but Dyche was happy with several aspects of his side’s play, two weeks before their seasonal opener against Southampton.

Dyche said: “I thought we were excellent the first half an hour, that’s kind of getting back to where we want to be, I thought we were very good, very strong in all departments, and then really, we had a bad three minutes, three bad passes and they nick a goal out of nothing, and then we reacted towards the end of the first half and got a grip of it again.

“Second half it’s always difficult, both sides changing players, it always changes the feel of it, bit enough to show they’re getting sharper and brighter, the technical brightness is coming.”

Burnley slicked the ball about well in that opening half hour, Ashley Barnes, Rodriguez, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and McNeil all linking well, and Dyche added: “We want to find that balance, mix our play, I’m a great believer in how many effective ways you can play, and we’re still trying to find that balance.

“It’s a constant work in progress, with new signings as well, with Erik coming in and Jay Rod getting an awareness of it, but some good signs.

“Tom (Heaton) unfortunately concedes two, but hardly had much to do.

“Good signs, we’ve still got two weeks to go, it’s more sharpness now, you can tell our lads are fit.

“Its that game sharpness, so we’ll use the next couple of games wisely to make sure as many of them have played as much football as they can, before you pick the side to start the season.”

Barnes dropped off Rodriguez at times, who also drifted out wide, allowing Gudmundsson to come in centrally, and Dyche wants that game intelligence: “It’s partly what we do, but partly them working each other out, new players work out who they’re playing with and the feel of the group, but there are a few laying down strong markers with their performances, almost picking themselves the way they’re going about it.

“So I’ve been really pleased with them, that’s what you want as a manager, in an ideal world you almost want the team to pick itself on form, to look so hungry for what it is, they almost pick themselves.

“So that’s a great position to be in, and a few are showing real strong signs.”

Ben Mee played an hour after missing the last two outings, and shrugged off a sore right knee: “Ben wanted to play on, we designed it for him to play that long, he was always going to play that long.

“It was just a bang on the knee.”

However, Nick Pope, Robbie Brady and Ben Gibson were again absent: “Popey is just a bit tight in his groin, and Robbie’s got this rib thing, which is painful. Every time you think it’s settled down, you have one tweak. It’s nothing serious but very painful, so we’ll see how he goes in the early part of this week.

“Gibbo’s settling nicely, he wants to get back at it, but we’ll probably hold him back. He’s done really well to recover quickly, so we want to make sure.”

Nahki Wells was an unused substitute at Port Vale a week ago, but not involved on Tuesday and this afternoon: “Nahki came in two weeks late because he played in the summer, so he’s always going to be behind the curve, slightly, so it’s a challenge for him, because we have the lads all chomping at the bit.

“It’s a big challenge.

“He needed the break, but he’s got to catch up now.”

Defour is also some way away from being involved: “Steven’s not close, he’s still recovering, he’s had a couple of niggles and upsets so we’re just having to work with him and wait for his body to get strong enough to join in with us.”