Sean Dyche says Burnley’s increased ability to mix up their tactics has led to improved away results after a 1-0 win at Everton on Sunday saw his side move up to sixth in the Premier League.
Dyche’s men have taken eight points from testing trips to Stamford Bridge, Wembley, Anfield and Goodison Park this season, collecting two wins and two draws against four of last season’s top-seven sides, topping last season’s points total on the road already.
Often pegged as long-ball spoilers, Burnley have demonstrated greater flexibility in their style this season and Jeff Hendrick scored the only goal against Everton, finishing off a flowing 24-pass move midway through the first half.
Although the hosts dominated possession in the second half and recorded 23 shots to Burnley’s five, stand-in goalkeeper Nick Pope was virtually untested in keeping a clean sheet for the second successive match such was the high quality of the protection provided by centre-backs James Tarkowski and Ben Mee.
24 – There were 24 passes in the build-up to Burnley’s opener; the second-most for a PL goal this season (31 – Delph v C. Palace). Liquid. pic.twitter.com/7Np0KFjAs5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 1, 2017
And Dyche believes a better balance to his team, now unbeaten in five Premier League matches, was key to a deserved three points at Everton, which piles the pressure on beleaguered Toffees boss Ronald Koeman.
“We’ve had to show different sides to our performance and we’ve done that this season,” the Burnley manager told BBC Sport.
“We have flexibility in the side and we want to play when we can, but we have to fight, work hard and stay resolute for everything we get.
“There was a good mixture today, a fantastic goal, I don’t know how many passes it was but it was a lot, culminating in a long ball – not that you can put it in that category from Robbie Brady as it’s an absolutely fantastic bit of vision – and then mixing it up with some real earthy, nitty-gritty defending. Good shape, good energy and a will and desire to see the game through – I think that mixture is important.
“Second half it got a bit trickier because they got more bodies forward and got the ball forward into the box from further out and that can be an effective thing to stop you from getting out.
“But in the first half it was a really good show of mixed football, as I call it. When we had to go long we did and when we could play and absorb the game a bit better that’s what we did.”
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