December 29, 2017 / 9:39 AM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Burnley's flowering the result of player development, says Dyche

(Reuters) - The blossoming of Burnley this season is the result of a collective drive for incremental player improvement at the club, manager Sean Dyche said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Huddersfield Town.

Burnley, one of the Premier League’s smaller clubs in terms of resources, have been a revelation this season. They have already collected 33 points from 20 games and are just seven short of last season’s tally.

The Clarets punched above their weight to stun defending champions Chelsea in their opening game and have also held Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester United along the way.

“I’ve been pleased with the development of the players. It’s a big underlying thing of mine. Is the team continuing to move forward? I believe it is,” Dyche said.

“Individually and collectively we’re getting stronger and that’s a really big marker for me as a manager.

“That’s beyond results. Results are what I’m measured by as a manager but there’s a journey beyond that and that’s the one for me. I keep seeing these players improving and that’s really pleasing going into the New Year.”

Burnley battled to avoid relegation last season and their success this campaign has raised hopes of challenging for a spot in Europe.

Dyche, though, is solely focused on that incremental development, starting with improving his squad when the January transfer window opens.

“It was a very good season to stay in the Premier League and then to build on that into this season ... over the whole year it’s very pleasing,” he said.

“It would be good if we could do another version of it. We want to continue to be flexible, continue to improve. We’re still going to look in the market if we think we can and if it’s appropriate.

“The first aspirations are to better last season. That’s obvious. From a fan’s point of view they know we have to continue doing that and I don’t think the fans here are too drunk on it all.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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