Dyche hails ‘strong jaw’ of his Burnley team as injury worries build ahead of trip to Norwich
PUBLISHED: 09:55 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:05 16 July 2020
Sean Dyche is confident his Burnley team’s strong mentality will not allow injury issues to disrupt them against Norwich on Saturday, as the Clarets continued their fine run of form.
Chris Wood’s injury-time penalty grabbed a 1-1 home draw against Wolves on Wednesday night to make it just one defeat in 14 Premier League games.
The Lancashire side are on course to finish in the top half despite continued speculation that Dyche’s long and successful time in charge at Turf Moor could be coming to an end due to strained relations with the club’s top brass, who are reportedly chasing new owners.
That follows a fifth consecutive top-flight season being secured, with Dyche the third-longest serving manager in England’s top four divisions having taken over in 2012 and masterminded two Championship promotions during that time.
However, while the Clarets have been able to spend on transfers they have always had to spend carefully due to the lack of a wealthy benefactor, explaining why former England internationals Joe Hart and Aaron Lennon did not have their expiring contracts extended until the end of the season.
Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick also left at the end of June, to Dyche’s annoyance, after turning down a new contract.
Injury has ruled out defenders Ben Mee and Matt Lowton, midfielder Jack Cork and striker Ashley Barnes for the remainder of the season as well - with two more injury concerns picked up against Wolves, including striker Jay Rodriguez who has scored three goals in six games since the season resumed.
“We’ve lost players again and, unfortunately, Charlie Taylor has felt his hamstring,” Dyche explained, with left-back Taylor replaced in the first half and Rodriguez shortly after half-time.
“He had a similar thing recently and maybe it’s a chance of settling down, but we’ll have to wait and see, and we’ve had to get Jay Rod off quickly because his calf was tight at half-time and we are running out of players.
“We can only take care of the next game though and although it’s been more difficult recently, we’ll have to patch them up again.
“The mentality is a given. Over the season, if you can keep that strong jaw, take the knocks and move forwards, then you have a better chance, and we’ve done well again tonight.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what they give and they wear the badge with real pride.”
Wood’s late equaliser, his 12th league goal of the season, came in controversial circumstances. Having headed wide of an open goal seconds earlier, the New Zealander went for an ambitious overhead kick in the fourth minute of added time, but as he missed the ball it struck the arm of Wolves substitute Matt Doherty.
The penalty was given and, after a lengthy VAR check, Wood - recently back from injury himself - fired into the top-right corner of the goal.
“The Premier League is very unforgiving, and to put that run of games together and put points on the table in that run as well, coming out of a tough run when it started, I can’t speak highly enough of this group,” Dyche said.
“They continue to give more and more to the cause. Players come in and they deliver. There is a relentlessness to what they’re doing. They never seem to know when they’re beaten.
“They just keep going and they’ve done that again tonight and got another valuable point.”
The Clarets travel to Carrow Road to take on the already relegated Canaries on Saturday (5.30pm), who have lost a club record eight league games on the bounce.