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‘Relentlessness’ means ice creams are off the menu for Sean Dyche and Burnley

Leeds United v Burnley – Premier League – Elland Road
(Image credit: Molly Darlington)

Sean Dyche will not be coming up with any unusual training methods to break up the relentless schedule for his players – because he argues there is no time to do so.

Dyche began his own playing career at Nottingham Forest and recalled Brian Clough taking his squad for walks down the River Trent and an ice cream if they needed a change of scenery.

Lockdown hardly creates the opportunity for away days but even if it did, there is not much space in the diary as Premier League players face an unprecedented fixture pile-up which has taken its toll both mentally and physically.

“Managers used to have real free rein and trust,” Dyche said. “Now it’s slightly different. Not so much here, because I’ve been here a long time, but directors of football want to know your training schedules and what you’re doing.

“If you say you’re going down the Trent for an ice cream I’m not sure that always goes down well, although ironically sometimes it is needed to deload the players.

“Now it is more of a professional relentlessness. This is what you get paid for, this is your job, this is this is the schedule and these are the challenges. Buckle up and get on with it, end of.”

After a rare full seven days between games last week, Burnley follow Sunday’s punishing 4-0 defeat at Tottenham with back-to-back home games against Leicester and Arsenal on Wednesday and Saturday.

Sunday’s reverse means the Clarets have won only one of their last seven Premier League games. That run, combined with Fulham’s recent resurgence, has cut their advantage over the relegation zone to five points.

“My experience is I can’t affect what other teams do,” Dyche said when asked about the Cottagers. “I can only play against them so it’s of no interest to me what other teams are doing…

“We can’t affect others’ results so we focus on ourselves.”

The downturn in results has coincided with several injuries which have depleted Dyche’s resources at a time when the fixture list allowed no time for recovery.

Chris Wood and Dale Stephens both returned as second-half substitutes at Tottenham but Erik Pieters and Ashley Barnes remain sidelined.

Dyche indicated that Robbie Brady and Johann Berg Gudmundsson are “close” to returning but admitted he needed to be cautious with two players who have suffered with a series of muscular injuries for some time now.

“We’ve maybe had to elongate their return,” he said. “Other players with a similar injury you could maybe fast-track but when you’ve had so many niggles, if you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”