Sean Dyche was delighted as Burnley got back to winning ways to give fans an early Christmas present.
The Clarets cruised to a 4-0 victory against Charlton thanks to Scott Arfield’s brace and second half strikes from Andre Gray – his 10th for the club – and Sam Vokes.
And Dyche hailed his players’ mental strength as they moved to within six points of the automatic spots.
He said: “I am really pleased. I’ve not been too unhappy even though it’s been a tough little spell.
“There’s a big thing in football called perception and it’s my job to see through all the noise.
“If you asked anyone about Brighton, I guarantee people would say what a fantastic run they have been on ahead of today. But in the last 10 games we’ve taken 16 points and they’ve taken 15.
“The margins can be tight and today we have taken our chances; probably only about two-thirds of them with no disrespect to Charlton, because in the second half it could have been more than four.”
Dyche added: ““Our fans have been really patient and the game was flat in the first half. The ball was swirling in the wind and they were dampening the game by taking their time with everything.
“The lads were a little edgy, but players are only human and that little bit of anxiety creeps in. It’s hard for players these days to not question themselves because they get bombarded with opinion from outside.
“But they have delivered today and that focus will always remain on the challenge, which is the next game and not get too involved in the outside perception.
“Our belief and our expectation of ourselves is as strong as anything and the players dealt with that well today.
“We got the goal and the message at half time was to relax and play with freedom and in the second half they did that and some of the play was as good as I’ve seen here at times.
“The second half was borderline excellent.”
Dyche made two changes, handing Matt Lowton his first start for the Clarets and option to leave David Jones out of the side for the first time to reinstate Sam Vokes.
The gaffer said: “I am pleased for Deano and it was very hard on David (Jones) because he’s been fantastic and I’ve told him that.
“It’s probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve had since I’ve bene here, because he’s bene excellent.
“But I have to make a judgement call and that was the same with Matty.
“Tendayi has done a superb job and is still learning the job, whereas Matt is probably the more rounded player in general, but he’s had to wait his turn.
“But his performance was good today, along with many others, including Sam, who has been playing well but hasn’t quite nicked one.
“There were a lot of good signs today and the fact is we are still on course. The challenge is massive, but there is a lot of life in what we are doing here.”