Coral look at the key features of Burnley’s success
Nick Murphy | 13 December 2017
What’s going right at Turf Moor?
Burnley have enjoyed an incredible start to the season.
After 17 games, the Clarets sit in the Champions League places with 31 points to their name.
Their only league defeats so far this season have come against West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City.
At this rate, Sean Dyche’s men could be on for their first European campaign since a run to the quarter-final of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1967.
Here, the Coral News Team look at the secret to Burnley’s success.
Case for the defence
Burnley’s fantastic start is based on one key principle – don’t let any goals in. The Clarets have the third-best defence in the division behind the two Manchester clubs. In 17 games, they’ve conceded just 12 goals.
At this stage last season, they had conceded 28 times. Their success is built on a core defensive unit which has been extensively coached over a number of years. In this case, familiarity breeds success.
Ben Mee and Stephen Ward have been integral to the squad since 2011 and 2014 respectively. With the added quality of James Tarkowski and Matthew Lowton, their unit contains individual quality which has by and large been reared in the Championship and below.
All of these players have the same mentality and background. That type of collective experience can only help a squad that is glued together by the charismatic and tactical abilities of a manager like Dyche.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Burnley’s away form last season was terrible. It took until April for the Clarets to pick up their first away win of the campaign.
Dyche has learned from that and made his side more difficult to beat away from home. This season they have the Premier League’s fifth-best away record alongside a similarly impressive defensive record.
They’ve taken last season’s mistakes on-board and now have the ability to pick sides off on the counter-attack. It’s no coincidence that the more frequent inclusion of Steven Defour when playing away from home has heralded an upturn in the Lancashire side’s fortunes.
He, alongside Robbie Brady, provides the Clarets with the skill-set to make key chances away from home which they didn’t create last season. With Sam Vokes and Chris Wood up-top to finish those chances off, the Lancashire side have key combinations and partnership all over the pitch.
The Dyche factor
It is impossible to understate the influence of Dyche on this Clarets side. The Burnley boss has been lauded all season long – and rightly so. His impressive recruitment, organisation and tactical nous is the beating heart of the Turf Moor side’s success.
Unlike some other Premier League managers, the ex-Watford coach has the ability to mix up the way his side plays. They don’t stick to a rigid system, instead choosing to utilise different formations, particularly away from home.
The Clarets can absorb the play, hit teams on the break and play long ball when they need to. Jack Cork is a player who is vital to that. The midfielder dictates the play in both halves of the field and importantly goes to show Dyche’s awareness in the transfer market.
Adding up all of those factors, it’s easy to see why the 46-year-old is a man in demand this season.
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