Sean Dyche admits expecting another title challenge from surprise champions Leicester City might have been too much to ask.
But the Clarets’ boss is still not under-estimating the threat the Premier League winners are capable of posing as he sends his side out to face the Foxes tonight.
Leicester head for Turf Moor in 15th spot in the league table, five points above the relegation places and five points behind 13th-placed Burnley.
Like the Clarets, Claudio Ranieri’s side are still to win away from home in the league this season but made it through to the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners.
And Dyche is taking nothing for granted as his in-form line-up eyes a possible seventh win eight league games.
He said: “Whether you’re in football or just a fan of football, I think it’s a fantastic story and possibly one that won’t be done again. It was amazing what Leicester did last year.
“I think most people thought this would be a different kind of season.
“It’s very difficult to win the Premier League and then carry that form forward again to be another force.
The Clarets have won four in a row at home in the Premier League
“I think that’s a big task, so I don’t think many were expecting they would be in the top two or three straight away again.
“The challenge of the Premier League is a difficult one. There seems to have been a difference in their Champions League and Premier League performances.
“But we’re not a powerful enough force to make out Leicester aren’t a big challenge for us, because they are.”
Leicester have lost just one of their last five away games in all competitions and Dyche added: “They are a very good side. They’ve still got very good players, players who have played in a side that won the division and international footballers.
“I am certainly not going to question the ups and downs of their season. We’ve just got to look and focus on what we do and know they are a good side and respect it.
“But when the whistle blows that respect goes away because we want to take on the challenge of going to win a game.”
Burnley have no fresh injury worries following their FA Cup fourth-round win over Bristol City last Saturday.
But Leicester, who face a replay against Derby County, will be without strikers Islam Slimani, who scored twice on his Premier League debut as the Foxes beat Burnley 3-0 in September, and Leonardo Ulloa, who is reportedly wanted by Sunderland.