Sean Dyche praised the ‘power of the group’ after a much-changed starting line-up swept the Clarets into the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The Burnley boss made seven changes to his starting line-up following last Saturday’s Premier League win over Southampton.
But the outcome was still the same as the Clarets brushed aside top-flight rivals Sunderland to set up a home tie against Championship side Bristol City in the last 32.
“I have spoken many times about the power of the group that aren’t playing every week, because they’re often the strength of the group,” said Dyche after goals from Sam Vokes and substitute Andre Gray had secured a ninth Turf Moor win of the season.
“They are terrific here. They are outstanding the way they train and the way they go about it.
“I think we, as a staff and myself as a manager, treat them very well and I think they respond to that.
“You saw tonight they are ready. They know how the team works, they know how they operate and I was ever so pleased with that.
“If you didn’t know those players so much but you had seen our current first XI play, those who have the shirts at the moment, you wouldn’t have known that wasn’t the Burnley side.
“You would have said that’s a Burnley side going about their business as the other team do, some of the people who he been playing regularly.
“And that’s a sign of good continuity throughout the club. People know their jobs, they know their roles, they know the expectation of them as an individual and playing as a team and I was really pleased with that.”
After drawing 0-0 at the Stadium of Light in the first meeting, the Clarets controlled the replay to repeat their league win over the Black Cats at the turn of the year with Vokes heading Burnley into a half-time lead and Gray adding his sixth goal of the season seven minutes from time.
“I thought it was a thorough performance,” continued Dyche, who added Nick Pope, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Jon Flanagan, Joey Barton, Michael Kightly and Vokes to his starting line-up.
“We made some changes but I thought the team played well at Sunderland and I thought they played very well tonight and overall deserved the win.
“I was really pleased with the team in both ways. There’s only three things that can happen in a game – they’ve got the ball, you’ve got it and then the bit when no-one’s got it.
“And we did all of that well.
“When they had it I thought our shape was good, our pressing was good.
“When he had it we delivered a good mixed game like we like to – we knew when to play longer for the second goal and it was great football for the first goal.
“And the bit in between you’ve got to glue it together with the hard work ethic and I thought that was on show, so I was very pleased overall.”
Dyche was also delighted to see a crowd of 12,257 – the biggest of the night across the third-round ties – turn up to back support his side’s cup run.
“It’s fantastic when you get 12,000-odd,” he said.
“I must give the club credit tonight with the pricing. I think that was important and to get so many people here tonight, I’m pleased for them.
“They’ve seen another good Burnley side win a game so I’m really pleased for them as well.”