Sean Dyche is relishing the chance to take on another Premier League ‘super power’ as leaders and champions-elect Manchester City roll into town.
Pep Guardiola’s big spenders have brushed aside almost everyone as they chase down an unprecedented quadruple.
City’s only domestic defeat has come against Liverpool and they are 15 points clear at the top of the table.
But the Clarets are enjoying their own landmark season. And having taken points from the other four members of the league’s top five, Dyche is looking forward to another big Turf Moor occasion in front of the live television cameras (kick-off 12.30pm).
“It’s another chance for us to take on one of the super-powers of the league. We have done well against them over the season,” said the Burnley boss
Ashley Barnes gave the Clarets an FA Cup lead at Manchester City
“Manchester City are the best side, I think, this season and they have shown that, quite obviously. I think everyone agrees.
“They are a very powerful side, both home and away. But that’s what we love about football.
“We’ve seen it at Burnley and outside of Burnley. These challenges are there for you to take and we want the team to take on the challenge.
“I thought we were very good against Manchester United, at home and away. We had a really good go at these in the FA Cup, certainly for 60-65 minutes.
“We want to take on these games. Although they are hard games, I think it’s terrific for these teams to be visiting Turf Moor, for our fans to see them and, more importantly, see their own side challenge these teams like we have done.”
The Clarets were beaten 4-1 at City in the third-round of the Cup last month, having led at half-time.
That defeat contributed to a nine-match winless run in league and cup, which has slowed the Clarets’ momentum.
But Dyche’s side has taken points from four of their last five trips in the Premier League to remain in seventh place in the table.
“It’s a double-edged sword for us,” Dyche added. “In the shorter run of eight games that we haven’t had a win, we’ve equally had some very good points on the board away from home in that run, against some top sides.
“We’ve got 18 points away from home and we only got seven in a whole season last time, so that’s a big positive marker.
“Our home form remains very strong. We’ve had a couple of last-minute goals go against us within that run and a couple of big decisions.
“Like every manager, there will be a story behind the story. But, it remains a fact. We haven’t had a win in eight and we’ve got to correct that. And that’s our job.”
Meanwhile, Dyche has confirmed that midfielder Steven Defour is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign – and ‘probably’ the World Cup finals.
The Belgium international had been an outstanding performer for the Clarets but will undergo surgery on a knee injury next Monday.
“It is likely to be the season, I would think,” said Dyche.
“Credit to Steven. His mentality has been solid this year and he has played very well.
“He wanted to carry on with it. He had a sore knee but nothing major and he was getting on and managing it wisely over the last few weeks.
“It was only really a precautionary scan that showed there was some cartilage off his knee and he’s going to have to have that dealt with.
“Depending on what they do, it could be the season, and there’s a strong chance it will be the season.”
Defender James Tarkowski will also miss the visit of City as he continues his recovery from a groin injury, while City - who have dropped points only three times this season - will give a late fitness check to play-maker David Silva. Forwards Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus are definitely out.
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