Sean Dyche believes his Burnley side will present a different proposition to Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday than the one brushed aside 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in August.
The Clarets go into the game seeking an eighth straight home win after turning Turf Moor into the kind of fortress which leaves them riding high in 12th place, nine points clear of the relegation zone.
While Antonio Conte’s side are also offering a more potent threat than at the start of the campaign, Dyche believes his players have every reason to approach their daunting challenge with confidence.
Dyche said: “It (the Chelsea game) was early in the season and they played miles better than us on the day.
“Beyond this result we’ve morphed into a stronger unit with a bit more experience and knowledge of what the Premier League is about – it doesn’t guarantee a result but it does give you a better chance.”
Despite the one-sided win at Stamford Bridge Conte’s men were still struggling to find the right formation in August and Dyche pinpointed the switch to three at the back as the turning point in the visitors’ season.
“The biggest thing was when they changed their formation – that seems to have worked well for them and it looks like they’ve got that feeling where everyone knows their job,” added Dyche.
“They’re a fine side but they were before really. Even with Conte and his experience it takes time to get the players to adapt and know what he wants from them, and they’ve done that now.
“Every game is a test in the Premier League but (Chelsea) are so strong at the moment that it is probably the biggest challenge we’ve had. They are top of the league for a reason.”
Robbie Brady and Ashley Westwood could be handed their first starts for the Clarets after coming off the bench in last week’s 2-1 defeat at Watford.
Jeff Hendrick starts the first match of a three-game suspension after his red card at Vicarage Road, while Steven Defour and Dean Marney are still both ruled out.
For Dyche, his success in bringing in a number of new players in the January transfer window could prove crucial for the season run-in if injuries and suspensions begin to bite.
He added: “If things go against a player, whether it be injuries or suspension, it gives the other players a chance and players who have been waiting for that chance.
“You want people to come in and affect that and they’re a group who are ready to affect that, so we are pleased with the way they’re operating.”