Sean Dyche has been surveying the season so far, ahead of facing Newcastle on Monday.

After last season saw Burnley up to the heady heights of seventh, this time around it is a different story.

They have nine points from 12 matches and are below Newcastle on goal difference.

Sean Dyche pointing to their Europa League involvement as a big factor in the downturn.

I like Dyche but the Europa League has become a convenient excuse for many, just like Alan Pardew doing so back in 2012/13, when a team that had finished fifth the season before almost relegated. However, that was more to do with shattered morale in the squad after Mike Ashley had refused to build on that breakthrough fifth place finish when so many things had fallen right for NUFC.

Burnley started their season two and a half weeks early with the first of six games they’d end up playing in the Europa League. Kicking off against Aberdeen back on 26 July 2018.

In their opening eight Premier League matches they have only played one (Man Utd) who finished above them last season, so they can hardly claim that it was a tough opening schedule.

When I hear these kind of excuses I always think back to the 2001/02 season when Sir Bobby Robson and his team used early European matches as a launchpad for the season.

They beat Lokeren in Belgium 4-0 on 14 July 2001, five weeks before the Premier League kicked off, playing six Intertoto matches in all.

They embraced it and took it as an opportunity to use the competitive Intertoto matches to help give them early impetus in the league. Their first 19 PL matches giving them 39 points, thanks to 12 wins, 3 draws and only 4 defeats. I can see an argument whereby later in the season the squad might suffer a little from the extra European matches but not early doors.

In 2002/03 Sir Bobby once again shot that argument to pieces, Newcastle having a staggeringly good PL record when playing games after midweek in the Champions League.

Sean Dyche talking to the Burnley Express:

“I still wouldn’t take away the experience but it does challenge you.

“It is well documented about everyone that goes into the competition, and it is documented for a reason.

“We knew that.

“But I was thinking ‘come on, let’s have our version of it’.

“Then when you go through it and you look back and you reflect on it, you understand why it’s well documented, you understand why all the managers come off it and go ‘massive challenge’.

“We went four games with 16 players. Dwight McNeil played in two, and I think Dwight’s a very good player and he continues to develop, but the point is that’s what we were down to.

“I think that shows where our squad was at, at that time. It’s difficult, without a doubt.

“It’s not really getting it out of your system, it’s just that it’s so new and a different experience, that it’s bound to have a change in the psyche because you’ve never been through it before, me included in that and some of the players. The peculiar feel of it, the travel, all of that.

“I don’t know if we’re getting it out of our system but factually it’s gone, it’s been parked. Then on the back of that, we’ve had these injuries.

“Really what I’m waiting for and hoping for is everyone getting fit, and then we’ve got that in-house competitive element and then the games programme of course.

“We haven’t had that all season, when we go ‘Right, ok, where are we going with this now? Where are we as a group going?’

“In the meantime we’re fighting hard and working to get points on the board to make sure that we’re intact for that period when everyone is available, because eventually everyone gets a level playing field when they’re all fit and they’re all well.”

  • Paul Patterson

    Managers take the credit when they finish high up in the league and qualify for Europe but moan the following year when they’re in it. Strange.

    • Wor Lass

      If they don`t have the resources to cope with the demands of the schedule then they will say something about it. He should be lambasting his board for not doing more in the summer but he`s not going to do that publicly, I suppose.

  • Wor Lass

    You`re missing the point, Jackie. Teams that have a big squad of quality players can handle playing in Europe mid-week. That`s not Burnley, is it? They must have an Ashley fan running the club because they only signed 3 players this summer – Vydra, Gibson and Hart – after doing so well last season. Manager after manager has said how difficult is is for years now. It`s pathetic that you have to disrespect a genuine, down-to-earth guy like Dyche just because we`re playing them and you need some angle to whip up a bit of edge to the game. It IS difficult – just as it was in the Championship with all those midweek games. What`s the problem?

    • Peaky

      Signed 2 players Wor Lass….Hart is 💩……😂😂

      • Wor Lass

        Nice hair, though.

        • Peaky

          😂😂 and not a flake in sight…

          • Wor Lass

            I didn`t think he`d be like this but I read a post once from someone who was in a bar when he came in. Apparently, he said to the guy, “Don`t worry, mate, I`m not going to steal your bird.” Maybe he was just taking the pi$$.

          • Rich Lawson

            ”Hart on his sleeve” ?

        • Billmag

          He’s loosing it though, probably that dam shampoo he’s been using.😀

    • Ram Kishore

      I don’t really think Burnley’s running can be compared to us. Owned by guys who are fans and locals. Debt free club. They don’t take in any money from the club.
      I remember Burnley’s transfer struggles ig. Lost their GK Nick pope because of injury forcing them to go for Hart then was asked to over pay for Dawson and Rodriguez.
      A team playing in Europe for the first time is always going to struggle without players or staff without Europe experience.

      • Wor Lass

        I know Burnley really well, Ram, and I have to say I agree with everything you say. All I meant was they failed to strengthen just like we did but they still spent £30mill with nothing coming the other way. We made two thirds of that i profit!

      • Steven05

        I know a team that played in the premier league for the first time, finished 3rd, qualified for Europe for the first time in 34 years, got in the top 6 the following year, followed by nearly winning the premier league…

        Probably irrelevant but just saying

        • Ram Kishore

          😁😁 I wish PL was like in the 90s. Any team can do things like what we did back then. Parity existed. Ajax could win the Champions league back then. Times have changed, so do the ability of the teams outiside of the top 6 to compete in Europe now.
          Manchester United was not global brand. I was not even born lol.. things change Steven just saying 😁 cheers

          • Steven05

            In fairness I don’t think it was a 90’s thing at all. Which other club did anything like that here in the 90’s?

          • Ram Kishore

            Nottingham forest 1994/95 got promoted and finished 3rd.
            I was born in 1993, I am telling this completely based on facts which I checked and from people who about it here.
            What PL or football in 90s is completely different to what it is now.
            Playing Europa on Thursday nights will not help a team to play the matches on a weekend especially when they don’t have a squad strong enough.

          • Steven05

            Fair enough – I didn’t know about Forest

    • Leazes.

      Its an invite to be hostile….its what he thinks football fans do, its sort of like Ryder trying to whip up hostility with Villa fans two years ago where little existed.

      ….his name is Simon Van der Velde…. his family owned the building where the Mag was printed years ago.

      • Wor Lass

        Ah, the infamous bedsheet saga! Sam hepworth was the one for peddling that.

      • KennySamsung

        I’d hate to get on your bad side.. nowhere in the world to hide.

  • Billmag

    Would love to see Rafa given a shot at Europe with us.😀

    • Steven05

      So would Rafa. That’s why he saw us as a ‘project’

      Because of the cancer running the club sadly that is never going to happen

    • KennySamsung

      Don’t give up on this, next season we can play friendlies somewhere in Europe. Brian Clough turned average players into great players so can Rafa.

  • KennySamsung

    This is Burnley we are now comparing ourselves with, Burnley not Man City.. I can’t take this any longer bye!!

  • Jonathan Drape-Comyn

    Burnley got knocked out of the Europa League back in August! So i am not sure what Dyche is talking about.

    If anything it should have been an advantage as they got a proper pre-season and played competitive games against decent opposition before anyone else got their feet under the table.

    Fair enough if they were still in the Group Stages as it can be gruelling on a small squad but managers just use the Europa League as an excuse half the team. Bit of a kop out from Dyche!