Sean Dyche hails ‘important week’ for Burnley in battle for survival

Crystal Palace v Burnley – Premier League – Selhurst Park
(Image credit: John Walton)

Burnley boss Sean Dyche praised the mentality of his team after they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace and make it a seven-point week.

Jeffrey Schlupp fired the hosts ahead after nine minutes in south London and the Clarets at this point looked to be struggling after vital but taxing recent wins over Brighton and Tottenham.

The visitors came out with more belief after the break and equalised within 40 seconds after Eagles captain Luka Milivojevic deflected Aaron Lennon’s cross into his own net to ensure both teams had to settle for a 12th draw in the Premier League this season.

“We have had a big week, an important week and that’s another point on the board. I think it is only one loss in seven now so that is good for the mentality of the side,” Dyche said.

“I think first half there were a few cloudy minds, I didn’t think there was much in it with our performance other than that and then second half a great mentality towards it.

“We ask a lot of these players. We came all the way down to Brighton (last Saturday), it took hours. Then we came down here and it took hours.

“I drove down and it took me seven (hours) so it is a big ask and those type of journeys are not ideal. We looked a bit sluggish in the first half but a very strong response second half I thought.”

Veteran Lennon, who made his top-flight debut in 2003, produced another decisive display with the assist for Burnley’s equaliser, which keeps them in 18th position but within touching distance of safety.

The former Tottenham winger rejoined the club in August and has been a regular in recent weeks, scoring in the games with Manchester United and Brighton.

Dyche added: “He has been good since he has been here but what he is doing is applying himself to the challenge in front of us with his experiences.

“He is still the fastest player at the club and is driving at players, he has got back to that edge of going forward more.

“For a very talented player, he sometimes goes square and short. He is now stretching the pitch, breaking in behind, running at people and is forever honest.

“Defensively he does a marvellous job for the side, is forever willing to work and he is certainly getting the rewards for looking after himself for all these years because he is a top pro and is delivering very, very good performances.”

Palace manager Patrick Vieira paid tribute to Burnley after they made life tough for the 11th-placed hosts, especially after the break.

Trickery from Michael Olise on the right set up Schlupp for an early opener and the former Reading ace continued to impress at Selhurst Park.

Chances were few and far between after the deadlock was broken, though, but Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland denied Wout Weghorst’s second-half header while Wilfried Zaha saw one late effort saved by Nick Pope and another rebound off the post.

“We scored that first goal but I think we overall didn’t play really well, we didn’t play well because they put us under pressure,” Vieira admitted.

“I think we couldn’t play well because they worked hard to close us down and we didn’t move the ball quick enough.

“I believe at times we played their game, meaning we played too many long balls and we didn’t make good decisions, but I think we didn’t make the decision because they made it very difficult for us.”

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