Sean Dyche was pleased to see his players get through a tough test at Nottingham Forest as he fine-tunes his plans for the new season.
ndre Gray’s second-half equaliser secured a 1-1 draw against the Championship side, who kick-off their season next Friday night.
More importantly, though, Dyche utilised 19 outfield players – including the returning Scott Arfield and new signing Phil Bardsley as second-half substitutes – on a warm afternoon by the Trent to keep his options open for the start of the Premier League.
And after a demanding time on the training ground, the Burnley boss was more than satisfied at how they responded to going behind to Daryl Murphy’s opener.
He told Clarets Player HD: “We need to get the fitness in and first half it was a real hard shift because they kept the ball well and tried to be productive.
“In the second half I thought we gathered our thoughts a little bit and looked better tactically and the game came back in our favour.
“In the first half we were expecting a little bit of that. The players worked very, very hard on Thursday. It was a double session and very hard on the legs.
“They carried a little bit of second-day fatigue and you could notice that first half, whereas second half they looked a bit stronger again, so we were pleased with that.
“It’s like the legs recover and we looked more like ourselves, partly the tactical, partly the physical.
“But it was good on all levels. I’m pleased with the players. There were a couple of tweaks but nothing major, so that’s good. We’re getting closer.”
The Clarets started with a near 4-3-3 formation, but that line-up was as much about best utilising the players that were given the early game-time as a tactical re-think.
And fitness will again by the top priority in next Tuesday night’s first Turf Moor friendly against Celta Vigo before more of a genuine dress rehearsal when Hannover 96 come to Burnley a week before the season starts at Chelsea on 12 August.
“Tuesday, we still want to get minutes into players,” Dyche added. “The idea is if we can get the whole group as fit as we can ready for the first game of the season, then you’re in good shape, because then you can put players in, take them out, move the shape etc.
“Without that true fitness, it’s difficult to do that because you end up going for the players who are the fittest because we all know the Premier League is very demanding - physically.
“We’ll see how Tuesday goes. That might be slightly different. And then by Saturday you’re looking to look roughly – not always the team you think – but roughly what the team might be.”