Dyche baffled by Burnley 'strugglers' tag

Burnley manager Sean Dyche cannot understand why his side have been labelled as strugglers so far this Premier League season.

Following promotion via a second-placed finish in the Championship last term, Burnley were made to wait until November for their first victory back in the top flight. 

Since then, two more league wins have followed, with Dyche's men in the bottom three going into 2015.

However, a win over Southampton was followed by positive performances in defeats to Tottenham and Liverpool, with Dyche's side finishing the year with an impressive 2-2 draw at champions Manchester City on Sunday.

With Burnley's performances having improved of late, Dyche revealed he does not understand why his team are said to be struggling.

"It's an interesting one, I keep reading about 'struggling Burnley'," he said.

"I do know what the expectation was - that we had no chance at all - but I can't work out why I keep reading about struggling Burnley.

"We're not struggling, there's a reality to the league table, I am aware of that, but when you look at how the team's performing we're not actually struggling.

"We're actually playing really well. I'm delighted with the players and very, very intrigued by where the journey is taking us."

Ashley Barnes' late strike gained a point at City on Sunday as Burnley came from 2-0 down to draw.

Dyche revealed he has been impressed with the forward since he was handed a recall to the starting XI in early November.

"I thought Ashley Barnes' was arguably one of the best centre-forward performances I've seen in a long, long time," Dyche added. 

"Particularly against this standard of player, when I talk about the growth of the team and the way they're maturing, he's certainly part of that.

"He's come from the lower leagues and earned the right to be at this level so why wouldn't he take that chance?

"I spoke to him and reminded him of what he has to do and what he's good at, he's taken it on board and moved forward. 

"[There were] big question marks when I put him in from our fans: 'Oh, I'm not so sure'.

"I think they're a bit more sure now."