Sean Dyche has vowed to resist compromising his side’s “pragmatic” approach to the game despite claims his reliance on a more direct style is hindering his chances of landing a top job.
Former Liverpool player turned pundit Jamie Carragher has hailed Dyche’s success with the Clarets and believes Everton ought to be “bursting his door” down as they seek a replacement for Ronald Koeman.
Dyche goes into Sunday’s Turf Moor clash with Arsenal having lifted Burnley into the top half of the Premier League table but while he rejects insinuations of long-ball tactics, he insists he must never lose sight of the club’s true aim.
Dyche said: “The name of the game is to win, and if you ask Burnley fans if they enjoy what we’re doing, I’d imagine they would say yes.
“The word pragmatic comes out – in other walks of life, ‘pragmatic’ would be a golden word – people who get things done, build things, and move things forward.
“In football it’s not quite like that. But we’ve had to be pragmatic in the early days of being here to build all of this, and now we’re trying to just mould it a little bit more.
“Working with your group to be effective is my number one priority. I like mixed football, because it increases your chances of getting the outcome you want. There’s got to be a balance to it in my view.”
While all the talk has been of the Clarets’ sturdy defence this season, Dyche has attacking riches at his disposal for the game as he bids to right the wrongs of two controversial defeats to the Gunners last season.
Chris Wood is set to return to the starting line-up after missing last week’s win over Swansea following his return from World Cup play-off duty with New Zealand, with Ashley Barnes likely to join Sam Vokes on the bench.
Dyche added: “It’s the headache we wanted at the beginning of the season, because you want those players to be performing. I thought Barnes was fantastic last week – he did the ugly stuff well and scored a lovely goal.”
Dean Marney and Jon Walters continue to make steady progress from their respective injuries while Dyche’s desire not to rush England goalkeeper Tom Heaton back from his shoulder operation is made easier by the continued fine form of his understudy Nick Pope.
Dyche added: “Tom is moving freely all the time and the actual internal side of the operation is fantastic – he’s stronger now but with a keeper you’ve got to be even stronger.
“We obviously want him back – Nick is doing a fantastic job but Tom has done brilliantly for us over a long period of time. Tom has a thirst to be back but he knows it’s an important injury to make sure the rehab has gone really well.”