Sean Dyche praised Dwight McNeil’s role in the Clarets’ revival after the teenager fired Burnley a step nearer Premier League safety.
McNeil’s top-class finish against Wolves wrapped up a vital 2-0 win which lifted the Clarets five points clear of the Premier League’s relegation places.
And Dyche admitted the 19-year-old had been a key part of Burnley’s post-Christmas transformation since being given his chance to make a mark.
“I think you’re always slightly surprised because he’s young and he’s learning,” said Dyche, who gave McNeil his second Premier League start in the 2-0 win over West Ham at the end of December which kick-started the Clarets’ resurgence.
“But on the other hand, I put him in because I believed in him.
“You’ve got to remember, I put him in when we did have 12 points from 19 games.
“Tom Heaton has got some praise for that (recovery) – and rightly so.
“People haven’t really mentioned Dwight as much.
“We have, because I know what he does, I know what he does in training and he continues to mature.”
McNeil started with a bang with a goal against the Hammers and has since been an ever-present during a run which has yielded 21 points from 13 games to drag the Clarets out of the bottom three.
The England under-20 international has now scored in successive games and Dyche – who celebrated his 300th game in charge of the Clarets with a first win in five matches – believes there is still more to come from the Academy graduate.
“I think he’s a very, very good player. As long as he keeps working – as he is doing – then he can only get better,” added the Burnley boss.
“He learned on Saturday more of the basics because we didn’t have the ball.
“He has to get into shape, he has to get a foot in, go and press people and then return to his shape.
“But then to still have the clarity when he gets the ball to find those moments is important, and he certainly found a moment to seal the game.”