When Burnley were promoted to the Premier League, it was a question of survival and embarrassment. But after a poor start, the Lancashire club have begun to show they belong at the highest level. TheHardTackle looks at the catalysts of Burnley`s mini revival.
One of the a smalla clubs in a very competitive league, Burnley were expected to do a Derby County (they garnered only 11 points in the 2007-08 season) when they were promoted to the Premier League this season. Nobody gave them a chance to survive in the world`s most popular league and yet, here they are, the a smalla club from Lancashire who are rubbing their shoulders against the very best. The term a smalla is synonymous to Burnely because of their measly budget and not such a big stadium. But their courage and willingness to fight is exemplary and it would be interesting to see if the club goes from strength to strength after showing a good account of themselves in the big games.
Sean Dyche- The Chieftain of Turf Moor
It doesna t get as simple as this; Burnley would never have earned promotion had it not been for Sean Dyche. The “Ginger Mourinho” as he is
popularly called, took charge of Burnley in 2012 and it has been a successful reign till date. He was appointed when Burnley were 14th in the Championship and had the division’s worst defensive record. The development of the club has been exponential from there and Dyche lead his team to automatic promotion by losing just 5 games and winning 3 manager of the month awards in his first full season with the club.
Whata s even more impressive is that Dyche has had to work with an absolutely meagre budget unlike QPR, who spent millions of pounds to get back into the Premiership. He also seems like one of those managers who has a high tolerance to pressure, and places even higher trust in his team. Dyche backed his players and his philosophy, despite not getting a single win in the first 10 games of the season. He is an advocate of a red-line zonea training, which helps develop speed and stamina. Stats show no team has run more than Burnley this season and the Claret and Blues also became the first Premier League team to name the same side in seven successive games since Birmingham City in 2009/10, which goes to show the fitness levels of Dyche`s team. They were also unfazed by the quick run of games in the festive period, and their longevity and fitness levels will play a crucial role in Premier League survival.
Danny Ings- Leading from the front
Life was tough at the beginning of the season for Burnley, who managed just 5 goals in their first ten games. They were without the prolific Danny Ings- Sam Vokes partnership who were last seasona s a SASa of the championship. The English-Welsh duo scored as many as 47 goals between them to fire Burnley to promotion. Vokes’ injury though meant that Ings had to burden much of the striking responsibility and the England Under-21 international did not disappoint. He has scored 6 goals in the Premier League till now (the last one coming in a crucial 2-1 win against QPR) and that is much as all the Liverpool strikers put together. Amidst regular transfer rumors circling the talented youngster, with Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool the latest to be reported to be interested in the youngster, Dyche would be hoping he could keep his star man at the club. It would be a disaster if he is sold in the current transfer window. With Sam Vokes returning from injury, the Burnley boss would be hoping for the Ings-Vokes partnership to flourish and maintain their Premier League status at the end of the season.
Courage, freedom to attack, and work ethic
Burnley have been extremely unlucky in not adding to the 4 wins they have bagged this season. They might lack the talent or skill levels of other Premier League teams, but they surely make up for it in terms of hard work. Their relentless pressing and quick passing football from defence to attack has caught teams by surprise this season. Their most impressive display was in the game against Manchester City at The Etihad, where they showed real courage and character to bounce back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Dyche’s men were full of energy on that day and they looked the more threatening team in the last 10 minutes of the game. The next three games are vital for Burnley, and they would look to get at least 5 points against the likes of Crystal Palace, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.
Sean Dyche may not have brought back the glory days of the 1960’s and 70’s to the club, but he has certainly brought cheer to the Burnley faithful by helping them compete in the Premier League. The neutrals would love to see a club, which has spent less money in their entire history than the money laid out by United for the purchase of Di Maria, stay up and prove all their critics wrong.