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Dyche: We Have To Dig In

11 August 2018

Sean Dyche insists the depleted Clarets will have to “dig in” in the short-term to juggle their domestic and European commitments.

Burnley kick-off their Premier League campaign at Southampton on Sunday, just two days after returning from their Europa League draw in Istanbul.

And with key players still absent through a combination of injuries and fitness levels, Dyche admitted he was facing a delicate balancing act in protecting his squad from further setbacks for the differing challenges.

The gaffer said: “We’ve just hit a period where we are a bit diluted with players. They are getting fit, but we are going to have to dig in for the next few weeks until the players start getting back to full fitness.

“This early part is going to be about that; getting players fit and doing the best with the players available, then hopefully getting stronger.

“We’ve been in Istanbul until early Friday morning and then down to Southampton on the Sunday, but that’s the new challenge for all of us.

“People will judge the effects of the competition in time, but now is not the time because of the diluted group we’ve got available through injuries and fitness levels.

“It is what it is though. The fans wanted us to be in the Europa League, and we certainly did, and we’ve earned the right to be here, so you take on the challenges that it presents."

Dyche, who expects Chris Wood (allergic reaction) to be available at St Mary’s, will still be without Robbie Brady and Steven Defour, while new signing Matej Vydra is lined-up to play alongside Brady in an U23 game on Monday.

Tom Heaton is available, while fellow goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard is a doubt after sustaining an injury in training in Istanbul.

Dyche added: “On Thursday we tried to balance a side that could be productive and balance the workload over the next few days.

“We were hoping to come into the Europa League with more players fit and new signings, and although we have made them, Matej is going to be a bit behind the curve, so overall we’ve tried to find a balance between the workload, getting a result (in Istanbul) and still being protective enough to ensure we have some fit players for Sunday.

“The team are well prepared for it by travelling by private jet, so we have moved forward as a club in that respect. I don’t over-think it though, because they are super-fit lads.”

Meanwhile, Dyche, who signed Joe Hart, Ben Gibson and Vydra in the summer, has described this transfer window as the worst he has experienced.

He explained: “It’s been very difficult. When you think, we are club trying to spend £10m-plus on players - that’s how far we have shifted – and it still doesn’t realty make a mark in this division.

“Then, when you get to a player the club don’t want to do business, however much money you put to them, so it’s probably been the most trying I’ve experienced as a manager.

“A few of the more experienced managers I keep in touch with have also said it’s been the worst they’ve witnessed.

“It’s tough for everyone concerned, and certainly the fans. There is propaganda out there – a lot of it nonsense, which is poor about the game today, about money that we didn’t bid on players that we haven’t bid for, just to try and bring some fervour to it.

“But that’s the market and we get on with it.”

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