Burn­ley close in on Europa League spot

The New Paper - - SPORTS -

Burn­ley man­ager Sean Dy­che is buoyed by the prospect of the Lan­cashire club fea­tur­ing in the Europa League next sea­son.

The Clarets have not played in Europe for 51 years and re­turned to the English Premier League only last sea­son, but a 2-1 win over Le­ices­ter City on Satur­day gave them a stran­gle­hold on sev­enth place which could bring Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

“It can’t be a neg­a­tive, how can that be a neg­a­tive? Five­and-a-half years ago, (we were) 16th in the Cham­pi­onship, im­pos­si­ble to be a neg­a­tive, im­pos­si­ble,” said Dy­che whose side got a fifth straight win with goals by Chris Wood and Kevin Long.

Burn­ley, who have 52 points, hold a nine-point lead over eighth-placed Le­ices­ter with five games to play.

Sev­enth place will be enough to qual­ify for the Europa League un­less Southamp­ton win the FA Cup. The Saints face Chelsea in the semi-fi­nals this Sun­day, with Manch­ester United meet­ing Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in the other semi-fi­nal.

Many clubs find the Europa League a bur­den due to the num­ber of matches they have to play, the dis­tances they must travel and the sched­ul­ing of matches be­fore they re­turn to do­mes­tic ac­tion, but Dy­che is a fan.

“For us, Burn­ley Foot­ball Club, even be­ing spo­ken about (for Euro­pean foot­ball) it is a long, long way from where we were at the end of last sea­son,” he said.

“You get 40 points (in the EPL) with two (games) to go and it is a big sigh of re­lief.

“This sea­son, (we) achieved 40 and then had the men­tal­ity to carry on af­ter that, fan­tas­tic, we will see where it goes.”

Burn­ley last played in Euro­pean foot­ball in 1966-67 sea­son, when they reached the quar­ter-fi­nals of the In­ter-Cities Fairs Cup, los­ing to Ger­many’s Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt 3-2 on ag­gre­gate.

The Clarets reached the Euro­pean Cup quar­ter-fi­nals in 1961. Dy­che sug­gested it would be hard for a small-town club like them to im­prove on sev­enth place in the fu­ture.

“It is un­likely it can get so pow­er­ful fi­nan­cially where you be­come one of the top six, which prob­a­bly all of us think are go­ing to be in the top six or around, cer­tainly not in rel­e­ga­tion trou­ble,” he added.– REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

Sean Dy­che.

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