Sean Dyche backs Burnley’s forwards to deliver goals in relegation fight
Sean Dyche has urged his offensive players to step up in the fight against relegation but is sure Burnley have more goals in them than they have shown so far this season.
With Maxwel Cornet still away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Chris Wood settling in at Newcastle Burnley will head to Arsenal on Sunday with a squad that has scored just six Premier League goals between them so far.
Overall, Burnley have scored 16 league goals in 17 games – only Norwich, with 13 in 22, have fewer.
That, along with the considerable number of games Burnley have in hand after a string of postponements, is a big part of the reason that the Clarets sit bottom of the table with only one win so far.
Attempts to replace Wood are continuing, but given how difficult the January transfer window can be, Dyche is keen to find in-house solutions.
“I think what we’ve got is more goals than we’ve offered,” Dyche said.
“It sounds simple but I do. I think we’ve got more goals than we’ve offered so far, I think we’ve got players who can be more productive and score more goals than we’ve done so far.”
Ashley Barnes remains out with the thigh injury that has sidelined him since October, and though Matej Vydra has been declared fit for the trip to London, Dyche has said the Czech international is struggling with a hernia problem that may require surgery.
That leaves Jay Rodriguez as the only fully-fit striker. The 32-year-old has scored five goals this season but all of them have been in cup competitions – it is now 11 months since his last Premier League goal.
“There have been a couple of games recently where I don’t think we’ve done anywhere near what we can do, but generally over the season it’s not been the performances,” Dyche added.
“The performances generally have been good and some of the stats back that up and support it, but the defining factor of games are often in both boxes and that’s been the key to it.
“Now, lately I think we can upgrade the whole performance.”
Dyche is no stranger to a relegation scrap, but this season the challenge feels significantly bigger.
Having played only three league matches in the last six weeks due to Covid-19 postponements, Burnley have been largely powerless to arrest their slide to the bottom of the table, left to watch on as Norwich picked up back-to-back wins while Newcastle try to spend their way out of trouble.
Recent reports suggesting Alan Pace’s group have been late making payments to former owners Mike Garlick and John Banaszkiewicz have been dismissed by the club but add to a sense of gloom around Turf Moor as their Premier League status comes under threat.
“I don’t want to have to use a siege mentality, but I understand the train of thought,” Dyche said. “We’ve had many challenges down the years and this is definitely another one.
“The last couple of seasons have been challenging in similar but different ways. We’ve had to work very hard to get what we’ve got and we still will do. But in different seasons – be they amazing seasons or tough seasons – hard work is a given.
“It’s the nature of what we’re like as humans. Once there’s a negative, you sometimes attach other negatives, whether that’s the media or ourselves. But once you start to get a more positive flow the story starts to change.
“It’s our job to make that story change.”