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Ton-Up In Top Tier For Dyche

Clarets boss prepares for 100th game as manager in Premier League

19 January 2018

Sean Dyche will lead the Clarets for the 100th time in a Premier League game when his side takes on Manchester United at a sold-out Turf Moor on Saturday.

Dyche celebrated five years as Burnley manager at the end of October.

And he reaches a century of games in the top-flight as the second longest serving manager in the Premier League, behind Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger.

“I’m pleased with that and particularly pleased that it’s part of Burnley Football Club,” Dyche said.

“We’ve managed as a group, through dual chairmen when I started and now a single chairman in Mike (Garlick), the board, two chief executives I’ve worked with, the staff and the players.

“They have all played a part in getting where we’ve got to.

“It’s not easy to be in the Premier League, for a starter, and then to have 100 games, I’m very pleased with that on behalf of everyone.”

United manager Jose Mourinho also opposed Sean Dyche in his first Premier League game in charge, when Chelsea were the visitors to Turf Moor

Dyche is in his third season of Premier League management, having led the Clarets to two promotions during his time in office.

Beating the 20-times champions would be a memorable way to mark his latest landmark but Dyche says this occasion is being treated no differently.

“Winning in the Premier League is a marvellous thing, because it’s not easy to do,” he added.

“And if you win games against the super-power clubs then, of course, it’s a feather in the cap of the club – not myself as manager, but the group and the fans – everyone enjoys that.

“But you don’t go into each game hoping for that. You go into each game wanting to perform and wanting to win, no matter who you are playing.”

Dyche admits the unforgiving nature of the Premier League has been the most telling factor of his time in the top tier.

After relegation at his first attempt, the former Watford boss steered the Clarets to safety last term and they now sit seventh in the table.

That’s despite a current run of six league games without a win – something Dyche is keeping in perspective ahead of the visit of second-placed United, who only denied the Clarets victory four games ago with a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.  

“A game and a run can twist very quickly and you have to navigate that,” said Dyche, whose side had won six of their eight matches ahead of a goalless draw at Brighton on 16 December which launched the current winless run.

“This is the first spell we’ve had. If you look, every single other club, other than the top six and ourselves, have had various spells like we’ve just had.

“Some, who are struggling a little bit down at the bottom, have had three or four spells.

“That’s how difficult the Premier League is. To think we weren’t going to have one all season is highly unlikely and improbable.

“You want to guard against that and you want to have a spell where you are having results all the time.

Steven Defour's stunning free-kick gave the Clarets a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford

"But it’s very difficult in the Premier League and that’s why I look beyond that and say you’ve got to have everything in context.

“You’ve got to have your injuries, suspensions, the opposition, you’ve got to have decisions. You have to have it all in the same pot and then make a view of it.

“That doesn’t mean you accept it, but there has to be a bigger picture view.

“The margins are so narrow. When we had a really good run I said the margins were tight and we were on the right side of them. We’ve been on the right side of them a lot. We want to get back to doing that.”

The Clarets will again be without strikers Chris Wood and Jon Walters, while defender Stephen Ward is also not ready to return.

However, Scott Arfield is expected to be back in the squad after missing two games with a hamstring strain.

United, who have won just once in three Premier League visits to Turf Moor, will not have Alexis Sanchez in their ranks.

The Arsenal forward is expected to move to Old Trafford but no deal was done before midday on Friday to make him eligible to play.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is likely to be part of that transfer, and so will not be in the United squad either, manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed.

Wideman Ashley Young is available again after completing a three-match ban, but defender Daley Blind joins Michael Carrick, Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the sidelines.

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