Dy­che pon­ders Europa ‘dou­ble-edged sword’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By John Ai­zle­wood

Nor­wich City Burn­ley

Wood 45+5, God­frey 80 og

It would take a vic­tory over Brighton next Sun­day and the re­sults of Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers, Sh­effield United and Arse­nal to go their way, but Burn­ley might yet se­cure an­other Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

If they sign up for the weary glory that is Thurs­day-night foot­ball, it will be re­ward for a sea­son that looked to be go­ing so awry that, as man­ager Sean Dy­che ad­mit­ted af­ter the win at Nor­wich City, there was talk of regime change.

In 2018-19, Burn­ley’s last Euro­pean jaunt ended be­fore Septem­ber had started, but it took its toll on a shal­low squad for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

“It’s a dou­ble-edged sword, the Europe thing,” Dy­che said. “Burn­ley be­ing in Europe is an amaz­ing thing and it was never even a con­sid­er­a­tion when I came here eight years ago, but there are chal­lenges. We just want points on the board to see where it takes us. But look at Wolves: they’ve done ter­rific.”

Satur­day’s vic­tory over rel­e­gated Nor­wich was their 15th of the sea­son and Nick Pope be­came the first Burn­ley goal­keeper to keep 15 clean sheets since an­other Eng­land in­ter­na­tional, Colin McDon­ald, in 1954-55.

They were given a help­ing hand by Nor­wich, who were down to nine men be­fore half-time af­ter Emil­iano Buen­dia and Josip Dr­mic lost their heads, be­fore Chris Wood shinned a bi­cy­cle kick past Tim Krul. “I’ve scored a few bi­cy­cle­kicks, but none as poor as that,” Wood quipped af­ter­wards.

Nor­wich even scored for their visi­tors when Ben God­frey turned home an Erik Pi­eters cross.

Nor­wich’s cap­tain, Alexan­der Tettey, looked on the bright side. “If it hadn’t been for the own goal, we’d have played over 45 min­utes with nine men and not con­ceded. I didn’t see the first red, but when you’re a man down you need to keep calm and not get an­other one.”

Europe or not, Wood in­sisted Burn­ley can be stronger next term. “This squad’s done ex­tremely well and we need to keep ev­ery sin­gle player here. We’ve had a lot of in­juries in the last few weeks and we’ve lost play­ers on con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions which isn’t good, but we need to tie down the boys run­ning low on their deals, be­cause they’re vi­tal and ir­re­place­able.”

Nor­wich, too, are look­ing to next sea­son, al­beit with rather less rel­ish. “There needs to be a proper, proper re­set and there’s a num­ber of things that need to be in place,” Tettey said. “First, you have to keep your best play­ers, but if any­one goes you need to re­place them with the same qual­ity or even bet­ter. Se­cond, you need fresh faces, but their char­ac­ter needs to be spot on.

“If you don’t have peo­ple ready for three Cham­pi­onship games a week, you will strug­gle.”

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