The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-06-29

Sport : 17 : 9

Sport

9 The Daily Telegraph Monday 29 June 2020 *** Watford into disarray Doubts over Dyche future at Burnley in power struggle Long directed straight at Ben Foster after 15 minutes. Southampto­n went ahead a minute later, Kiko Femenia giving the ball away and Southampto­n working it to Will Smallbone, who found Ings. There did not seem to be anything on but Ings shimmied past a couple of static defenders before drilling low into the bottom righthand corner. Watford were just starting to get on top when they conceded their second, Foster throwing the ball straight to Ings, who advanced into the area and hit a shot low across the Watford keeper which took a slight deflection. It was his 18th league goal of the season, one behind Jamie Vardy and one ahead of Mo Salah and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. “It was a little bit of a gift,” admitted Ings, who added that he was not thinking about the Golden Boot. “To be honest, no, I just want to play each game and score goals for the team. My focus is just on trying to score some more.” Watford somehow got back in the game thanks to an own goal. But James Ward-Prowse immediatel­y restored Southampto­n’s twogoal lead with a superb free-kick. And there was still time for Nathan Redmond to hit the post as Southampto­n knocked the ball around with confidence. “We are fighting for our lives,” Pearson admitted. “We have to go back to showing a cohesion as a group of people. We have games left in which it is in our own hands to make sure we secure our future in the Premier League.” northern football correspond­ent By James Ducker Calls for more investment strain relations with chairman Manager angry over player contracts amid talk of club sale a £10.5million training centre and an upgraded academy – but Dyche has wanted more investment, both for the short and long term. Garlick recognises the importance of all of that and was influentia­l in the appointmen­t of a technical director as Burnley sought to improve their scouting network and internal structures. But the football plan and the business plan have not, as several sources put it, “come together” as Dyche hoped and this damaging disconnect has led to talk of the manager potentiall­y departing this summer. This inertia that has exasperate­d Dyche may be partly explained by suggestion­s that Garlick is close to selling the club. Prospectiv­e investors have been circling. Burnley’s majority shareholde­r has presided over great success during his eight years as chairman and is entitled to feel he knows how to run a club, and business. Burnley have just posted a profit for the third consecutiv­e year. There is no villain here. Yet none of that lessens the frustratio­ns of Dyche, who has per- Game over: James Ward-Prowse produced a stunning free-kick to end Watford’s hopes Nothing hurt Sean Dyche quite like the sight of that grim “white lives matter” banner circling above the Etihad Stadium shortly after Burnley kicked off against Manchester City. It was a reminder of much bigger challenges beyond football. But the angry, alarmed reaction among his senior players to the news that Burnley could name only seven substitute­s for that match, including two untried goalkeeper­s, cut deep with Dyche in a different way. Some wondered if the Burnley manager was trying to make another point to his chairman, Mike Garlick, only days after decrying the club’s hierarchy for allowing contracts to run down. Yet, as Dyche explained to his unimpresse­d captain, Ben Mee, this was no stunt: the players put out were the only ones he had at his disposal. Burnley lost 5-0 but recovered to beat Watford three days later and, tonight, face Crystal Palace knowing victory would move them above Arsenal into eighth and, once again, within sight of Europa League qualificat­ion. On the surface, all would appear well at a club who punch considerab­ly above their weight. Behind the scenes, though, it is a different story as a power struggle ensues between the two men who have done more than anyone to elevate Burnley. Dyche and Garlick have always challenged each other but what was once a healthy manager-chairman dynamic has become severely strained, perhaps even fractured beyond repair. Conscious that Burnley require regenerati­on and that spiralling transfer fees and better scouting elsewhere will make his frequent Harry Houdini acts in the market all the harder to repeat, Dyche has been asking the club to stretch themselves – just not to breaking point – for longer than he cares to remember. There have been wins – Crystal Palace v Burnley 8pm, Amazon Prime formed minor miracles on an average annual net transfer spend of £9 million. The origins of the breakdown can be traced back to the summer of 2018. Burnley were gearing up for their first foray into Europe for 51 years. Dyche saw the dangers, then, of standing still. Burnley cannot afford to buy four or five strong players in one window. They need to rebuild over time. That summer, they were priced out of moves for Craig Dawson, Matt Phillips and Jay Rodriguez and felt the impact of having European football to juggle when they were in the bottom three with 12 points from 19 games. You would not have known that from the upbeat mood in the camp but Dyche was warning then about the risks of not tying players to new contracts, hence his dismay at seeing midfielder Jeff Hendrick walking away for nothing. It has to be evolution at Burnley, not revolution. “If planning is not put in place, you eventually arrive at a moment, which we’ve had recently, where things all come on top of you at one time,” Dyche said. “I can advise and inform, but it still takes finance to back that informatio­n. I can’t write the cheques.” Villa back manager Smith for relegation run-in By John Percy Aston Villa are prepared to stick with Dean Smith as head coach for the final six games as the club prepare for a crucial month in their battle against relegation. Smith is under increasing pressure, but it is understood that the 49-year-old will stay in charge for the remainder of the season, despite his side succumbing to a sixth defeat in eight league games on Saturday against Wolves. Villa remain in the Premier League relegation zone and face champions Liverpool and Manchester United in their next two games, with time running out to avoid a swift return to the Championsh­ip. Smith was critical of the Premier League fixture schedulers after playing four games in 11 days and has defended his relegation­threatened squad following their latest setback. “When we play poorly and get battered, then I’ll say we’ve got a problem,” he said. “The lads are standing up to everything and thoughts were on the first four games; we planned for each game and they have gone how I expected them to go. “Unfortunat­ely we haven’t got the results we probably deserved. We won’t lose belief in what we’re doing. We have been extremely hard to beat for any team – and that includes Chelsea. “We’ll come out with a plan to try to beat the champions.” Villa have extended the loan deal for AC Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina, while they are also close to agreeing an extension with Chelsea for midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Borja Baston, the striker who joined on a short-term deal in January, has left the club after playing just 16 minutes in two games as a substitute. Defiant: Aston Villa manager Dean Smith says his side have not got the results they deserved since the season resumed defensivel­y we have been really good in the four games. There are a lot of points to play for. These lads will keep battling away. “We haven’t even thought about playing Liverpool and we’ll start building up to it this week. The Strained: Sean Dyche (far left) with Burnley chairman Mike Garlick

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