Di Maria cost more than this Premier League manager’s club have spent in their ENTIRE history

first_img 4 “You can only advise,” he says. “They’re young men, they’re not kids. So we don’t take away Twitter or Facebook from them. They have a choice whether they want to read what’s on social media or in the papers. Some people use it as fuel, some don’t, some people it hurts, some aren’t bothered – they’re the hardest things to define, because when they leave our building we can’t hold their hands.Horse whisperingBut Dyche does, he says, have ways of monitoring his players. “You look at their body language and at the way they’re training,” he explains. “You get the feel of a group, too. From years of playing, you can tell if it’s a lower day or a higher day, if everyone’s buzzing or not – and then you try to twist it accordingly.“Sometimes you leave players alone, because you think they’re in a good place. Other times you need to say something. The hardest thing as a manager can actually be not doing anything, because sometimes players need to be left alone and given that mental freedom. You’re always tempted to go in, though, because your desire is to instigate change in them.”The term ‘man management’, is used a lot in football. Too much, says Dyche: “[The phrase:] ‘He’s a good man manager’ gets thrown around like there’s some mystical reason for it, but often it’s more thought-out than that – and some of it is just common sense. I build on common sense values of respect, pride, passion and honesty. I respect the players and speak to them in an honest and positive manner. Even if it’s not such good news, I try to deliver the positive side of it – I think all those things define man management.“And sometimes it is just the old fashioned arm around the shoulder and saying: ‘You’re doing great, we value you, keep going.’ It can be as simple as that. Other times it’s very complex. I call it horse whispering. You can walk past a player in training and you might say, ‘Fantastic performance on Saturday, just keep enjoying it.’ And that can be enough to really stimulate his growth, because he thinks, ‘I’m in a good place.’ They just need a nudge sometimes.”Dyche says his ideas of coaching were largely formed during his time as Watford’s youth team coach, when he worked with all age groups right down to the under- 12s: “I massively enjoyed my two years there. It helped me define what I thought would work and what wouldn’t.”But it’s these most trying of times that Dyche feels are really shaping him as a manager: “I’m arguably in my biggest growth phase now, because you learn more when things are challenging, and they’re certainly challenging in the Premier League.”Back in the habitAfter suffering a sixth league defeat of the season at the Emirates last weekend, Dyche fell back on his narrative about the “realism” of the Clarets’ challenge, saying of their 3-0 defeat to Arsenal: “There is a reality to our challenge and that is not our reality, that is the top end of the market.”Is Saturday’s home tie against Hull City a more realistic opportunity for three points? “I’d never be disrespectful enough to think you can define it like that,” he replies. “Jose Mourinho said last season that, out of all the leagues he’s managed in, the Premier League is still the most likely to disregard the form book. But, in addition to that, if you’re away at Chelsea with their current form and squad, it’s fair to say the odds go against you more than if you’re at home against whoever. If you look at the league, home form is often a bigger marker for any team. We’ll be looking to enhance our own this weekend; we enjoy playing there.”A major reason for that is the home fans. Having enjoyed the best start to a season in the club’s history last term, Burnley’s supporters are desperate for a victory. “I said we would need them to be positive this season,” says Dyche. “We have needed it, and they have been. I’m not naïve though, despite some real snorts. I know that can only last so long. Fans question things because they want the team to do so well. 4 Sean Dyche 4 With every 90-minute window that passes Burnley by, the potential for panic increases. But Dyche continues to exude a comforting sense of ‘been there, done that’: “I know the realities of what we’re trying to achieve, and I’ve been down this road before. I’ve had a spell here when we didn’t win games; I’ve been at Watford when we didn’t win games. It’s all part and parcel of it.“It’s rare that managers have it comfortable and are winning week after week, year after year. Everyone gets questioned. It’s part of what we know as managers. Does it affect me? Only in the way that my instinct is to win. It has been since I was a kid. It’s what we thrive on – developing others to win. That’s part of your job as a manager, so that’s the part that dents you. But it doesn’t break you. It’s just another knock. And it’s a knock we all wanted. ‘Burnley Football Club in the Premier League’ has still got a nice ring to it. Now it’s about moving it forward.”Getting realThe question is: how? After spending his entire playing career and early days in management fighting for promotion to the next level, how is Dyche now adapting his mentality and that of his players to the challenge of fighting for survival?“Well, we don’t do blind faith,” he states. “We never thought, ‘Oh, we’ll just roll into these places, say hello – we’ve arrived – and roll out with three points and a win. In pre-season, we spoke a lot about what we thought was going to happen – not in terms of results, but in terms of the challenges ahead. But, instinctively, players are designed to win games. They want to win games, so it’s about finding the best way you’ve got of doing that – tactically, technically, mentally and physically.”Dyche talks a lot about the “realities” of life in the Premier League for Burnley – the club with the smallest budget in the division that, according to Dyche, has spent less money on players in their entire history than Manchester United spent on Angel Di Maria this summer (£59.7m).“When I talk about over-thinking, it’s about the journey that myself, the team and the club are on,” says Dyche. “Where it has come from to where it is now. Outside of that you can’t make some big drama because you haven’t won a game. That’s the reality. It’s not like the world’s going to end; it’s just what it is to be in the Premier League. You can get involved in a whole load of opinions and conjecture, but I think it’s more wise to look at the facts, to look at performances and to know what our end product is.”Dyche might be single-minded enough to let the weekly torrent of fan and media opinions wash over him, but can he trust that his players are similarly unaffected? 4 “The secret lies in how long we can allow the players the freedom to go and play – that’s the important thing. The fans have been terrific home and away in doing that, even with the tough times we’ve had in trying to get that first win. They know they’ve got a manager who’s motivated and a group of players giving their lot to win games. They know that, they can see it. But they are thirsty for it, and so are we.“They are used to winning. I’m used to winning, and this group is used to winning. So that’s something we’ve had to get our heads around. We have to get over the first hurdle, not because of our reasons but the outside reasons. As I said, you get one win and all it does is get a story out the way because guess what? You need to get another. I want to win for us, not for some story. I want to win for myself, the staff, the players and the fans – not for the press to have a story to throw around.“It’s true to say there have been massive strides over the last two years at this club, so we can’t start over-thinking every game because there’s been a lot more done than just what’s happening now. But that’s also history. It’s done. And being the greedy manager that I am, I want to win games.” Burnley boss Sean Dyche reflects on the realities of Premier League life at a club punching above its financial weight. This feature appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on twitter @sportmagukOverthinking, says Sean Dyche, is not something anyone at Burnley Football Club can afford to do.“The obvious story is that we haven’t won in however many matches [11 in all competitions],” he says. “But guess what? If you win a game, you have to win another. A lot is made of the first one. But it’s irrelevant in the sense that, if you win one, that doesn’t define the season. You’ve got to win another, then another.”Dyche has just finished his pre-match press conference, where the number of cameras assembled – five, accompanied by a similar number of reporters – is keenly noted by the club’s media manager, who recalls the days not so long ago when only the local news channel would show up to hear the Burnley boss speak.Dyche has plenty to say, calling on his experiences as a player (winning promotion with four of his six clubs, although never to the top-flight), and his coaching education to persuade a roomful of cynical reporters that Burnley can yet make a full recovery.“Everyone knows it’s a huge challenge for any club that gets promoted,” he says. “We haven’t got a massive squad of deep experience in the Premier League. But then everyone thought last year we couldn’t do it with just two strikers; that we couldn’t do it with a squad of 18; that we couldn’t do it because we played at too high a tempo; that we couldn’t do it because the club wasn’t big enough to compete; that we couldn’t do it because in January there’d be trouble with injuries. And we still did it. It’s about finding a way.”last_img

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