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.
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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.