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Clarets Switch Pitches For Build-Up

Burnley fly out to Athens for latest Europa League test

22 August 2018

The Clarets fly out to Greece today on a mission to keep their European tour in top gear.

Sean Dyche’s men take on Olympiakos in the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie on Thursday night.

They are a guaranteed a warm reception at the Karaiskakis Stadium on the outskirts of Athens, with over 1,000 Burnley fans expected to add to a red-hot atmosphere.

But the Clarets will have to warm up for their big night at the nearby Nea Smyrni Stadium – home of Greek Super League side Panionios – with the Olympiakos pitch out of bounds for the Wednesdsay evening training session.

“I don’t know what’s gone on with the pitch there. I don’t know much about that, other than that we’re not allowed on it the night before, which suggests it’s not in great shape,” said Burnley boss Dyche.

“We are going to the stadium, even though we can’t train on it, so we’ll have a look and see what the noise is about. We’ll have to find out more about it when we get there.”

Olympiakos are 44-time Greek champions used to playing in the Champions League.

But finishing third last year saw them kick off in the Europa League with a comfortable 7-1 aggregate win over Swiss side Lucerne in the third qualifying round.

And Dyche knows his side will have to be at their best in the opening leg with a place in the group stages of the competition up for grabs.

“They are a side that over there that are used to winning a lot, historically,” Dyche added.

“They don’t always win the league, but they’re always close, or more or less always.

“They have a high win percentage, so it’s that mentality of winning games.

“We have to make sure we’re aware that and that we understand they’re likely to be a good side.

“We’ve done some homework, of course, and the players will learn a bit about them, so we’ll see how we go.”

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