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12 December 2017 Venue Turf Moor Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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Dyche Not Dazzled By Top-Four Prospect

Boss looking no further than Stoke as Clarets seek another home win

12 December 2017

Sean Dyche admits no-one would have predicted a possible top-four place for the Clarets as they head towards the half-way point of the season.

That will be a reality – for 24 hours at least – if Dyche’s side can beat Stoke City at Turf Moor on Tuesday night and go above Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool into fourth spot in the Premier League.

But the Burnley boss insists there will be no change to the Clarets’ approach as they no look further than the pursuit of a fourth win in five home games.

Dyche said: “I have said recently I thought we could improve from last season as a squad. Then I thought that squad would improve the way we could find results.

“To be where we are, I don’t think anybody thought that. It’s not a negative thing, I’ve got be realistic. The players know I build on reality.

“What we’re doing is fantastic but now we open our minds and challenge ourselves for the next game.

“We are not changing our whole thinking. We know the complexities of the Premier League.

“I have learned a lot about it in the seasons we’ve been here and the players have as well. They know you can’t take anything for granted.

“The fans can enjoy it and I’m sure they do enjoy looking at the league, but the players know the next one is the most important.”

Dyche’s philosophy has served him and his players well in the five years he has been in charge at Turf Moor.

And focusing on the next game has again brought its rewards this campaign with each of the Clarets’ four league defeats being followed by a victory next time up.

That was the case again against Watford last Saturday as Dyche’s side bounced back from losing at Leicester City to close out another game 1-0.

No side has conceded fewer home goals than the three Burnley have let in at Turf Moor and Dyche believes his players are continuing to develop and benefit from the experience of top-flight survival last season.

Phil Bardsley could make his 250th Premier League appearance against his former club

He added: “The maturity and experience of the players is growing. We are not talking about guaranteeing anything but enhancing your chances to win games. And win them on a more regular basis. I think that is the change.

“Their game awareness is definitely improving and their game management of the Premier League – backed up by a strong mentality and physicality.

“It’s always been a side which are willing to work and none of my sides have never not been willing to do a shift.

“If you get all that together, confidence can come from that and, obviously, results build that mentality and enhance it.

“The Premier League is a tough place to be, and it’s the players delivering; if you do take a knock, then making sense of it and parking it quickly to get it ready for the next game.

“We have done that well so far.”

Stoke will be looking for a response of their own after losing 5-1 at Tottenham last Saturday – a third defeat in four games which has left them 15th in the table.

"We are all of the view that we want to do something about the performance on Saturday and hope to do that on Tuesday,” said manager Mark Hughes, whose side has the worst defensive record in the Premier League.

“Burnley don’t concede many goals, make the most of the opportunities that they create and have the ability to see out games from winning positions. Maybe that’s something we need to learn from ourselves.”

Stoke are expected to be without defender Glen Johnson and forward Jese, while the Clarets will give a late fitness check to Ben Mee.

 

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Match Reports

Burnley 1 Stoke City 0

Ashley Barnes comes off the bench to fire the Clarets into the top four

12 December 2017

Ashley Barnes struck a dramatic late winner to send Burnley into the top four of the Premier League as Sean Dyche’s men refused to have their charge up the table blown off course.

On a wild and wintry night at Turf Moor, Barnes came off the bench to lash home the 89th-minute goal which for one night at least put the Clarets in a Champions League slot.

The striker’s second goal of the season was enough to earn a fourth victory in five home games as Burnley once again found a way to win and take themselves beyond the 30-point mark with only 17 games gone.

It was never pretty in conditions hardly condusive to the kind of football that has seen Dyche’s side sweep towards their highest league placing since March, 1975.

But once more the Clarets – with another re-shuffled back four that included Premier League debutant Charlie Taylor for all bar the opening 40 minutes – refused to give anything away.

And a combination of a sixth clean sheet at Turf Moor – where only three goals have been conceded all season – and a bit of brilliance from Barnes was enough to leave Stoke in trouble at the other end of the table and the Clarets looking only upwards.

Incredibly, Stoke hadn’t won a top-flight game away from home on a Tuesday night since 1906.

That run of 53 matches included 40 defeats and after losing three of their last four games – including a 5-1 beating at Tottenham last Saturday – they were desperate to re-write history.

And the visitors started the better with Peter Crouch, handed just a third league start of the season and an obvious and willing target for his team-mates, volleying against the foot of a post from a tight angle after James Tarkowski had failed to cut out Ramadan’s cross from the defender's only slip of the night in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate.

On-loan defender Kurt Zouma then volleyed straight into the arms of a grateful Nick Pope from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner before the Clarets were able to try and get a foothold in the game.

Steven Defour did his best to coax Burnley into life in the foul conditions but it was hard going against the elements and the towering figures of Stoke’s central defensive pairing of Zouma and Ryan Shawcross.

The Clarets found chances hard to come by and the nearest they came to breaking the deadlock before half-time was a curling effort from Johann Berg Gudmundsson which flew wide after a volley from Scott Arfield had been blocked.

But Stoke, too, were blunted by a Burnley defence which again proved itself impregnable, despite another enforced change when ever-present left-back Stephen Ward succumbed to a knee problem to be replaced by Taylor in a back four which again included Kevin Long in place of the injured Ben Mee and Phil Bardsley making his 250th Premier League appearance against his former club.

It was not a night for the feint-hearted and both sides struggled to keep possession long enough to dictate terms at the start of the second half.

But with Defour invariably the one looking to get on the ball and drive Burnley forward it was the Belgian international who tested Jack Butland for the first time with 20 minutes to go with a long-range strike the England international gathered on the bounce.

Gudmundsson then struck an angled shot wide and with Barnes on for Jeff Hendrick and Sam Vokes on for Chris Wood, the Clarets wound things up for a final push as they increasingly looked the more likely winners.

Crouch missed a half-chance for Stoke from a rare sight of goal from the Potters and then with two minutes to go Barnes secured a landmark victory with a clinical and perfectly-timed strike.

Jack Cork’s flighted ball forward was laid off by Barnes to Arfield and when Arfield returned the favour, Barnes cracked a shot past Butland from 15 yards to continue the Clarets' remarkable run and put them among the most elite of company.

Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Long, Tarkowski, Ward (Taylor 40), Gudmundsson, Defour, Cork, Arfield, Hendrick (Barnes 71), Wood (Vokes 81). Substitutes: Lindegaard, Westwood, Ulvestad, Wells.

Booked: None

Stoke City: Butland, Cameron, Zouma (Wimmer 65), Shawcross, Pieters, Allen, Fletcher, Diouf, Shaqiri (Choupo-Moting 83), Sobhi, Crouch. Substitutes: Grant, Berahino, Afellay, Adam, Edwards.

Booked: None

Referee: Michael Jones

Attendance: 19,909

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