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The Boss Is No Euro Sceptic

Improvement the aim but European challenge not off the agenda

9 March 2018

Sean Dyche isn’t ignoring the possible pursuit of a European place.

But the Burnley boss first wants to deliver proof the Clarets are getting better by the season.

Dyche’s side heads for West Ham today, occupying seventh spot in the Premier League on the back of a run of just one loss in five games.

As it stands, a sixth-place finish will secure a slot in next season’s Europa League.

That will go down to seventh if one of the current top six wins the FA Cup – a possibility for Manchester United, Tottenham or Chelsea.

But bringing a third taste of European football to Turf Moor – after runs to the quarter-final of the European Cup in 1960/61 and the last eight of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup for the Clarets six seasons later – is not currently Dyche’s number-one target.

“It is a real good marker to be mentioned around both of those, both Arsenal and this idea of Europe,” said the Clarets’ chief, whose side would close the gap on the sixth-placed Gunners to just two points with a fifth away success of the campaign at the London Stadium.

The Clarets' win over Everton last weekend took them onto 40 points

“The goal for me remains the same – but take this as a positive.

“We want to build on last season. That doesn’t mean you’re not chasing Europe, by the way.

“The fact is, you want to enhance what we’re building here season-on-season and that’s a tough thing to do.”

Burnley are already level on points with the total they managed last season, meaning any positive result against the 13th-placed Hammers would give them a record total for a Premier League campaign.

“I said before the win against Everton I believe the team is in a better place as a group,” Dyche told Clarets Player HD.

“We are delivering better performances, but the league table is the thing that everyone else judges on.

“So we are in good shape at the moment. We’ve got 40 points and we want to see how many we can get because that will show literally, not just with what I’m feeling and not what some of our fans think about our side and some of the performances, that we have, factually, got better than last season.

“That’s the next goal, and let’s see where it goes after that.”

Full live commentary of this afternoon’s game with Phil Bird and Alastair Campbell is available on Clarets Player HD from 2.45pm.

 


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