Sean Dyche delighted with Burnley’s progress as they push for Europa League place

Sean Dyche admitted he felt Burnley would have a good season, although he did not think they would be challenging for Europe

Burnley manager Sean Dyche has revealed he had a good feeling about his squad at the start of the season, although he had no idea they would be challenging for a place in Europe.

Dyche’s side face Leicester at Turf Moor on Saturday knowing a strong finish to the campaign could see them competing in the Europa League next season.

Burnley finished 16th in the Premier League in 2016/17 and were among the pre-season favourites to be relegated this time round.

But a 3-2 victory away to defending champions Chelsea on the opening day of the season set the tone for what was to follow, with the Clarets going into the Leicester game six points ahead of their opponents, having won their last four matches in a row.

“At the start of the season I liked the look of the squad. There was a bit more strength in depth and I thought it was a more rounded looking squad going into the season,” said Dyche.

“There are no guarantees because we know how tough the Premier League is. You can only go on what you see and what you feel, so I thought we could be slightly better off [than last season].

“But you then look at the early fixtures and we got some good points on the board. We had a more flexible looking side tactically, so I thought we could change the way we play, which has mostly worked.

Watford 1-2 Burnley

“But to say we would be seventh [in the Premier League], talking about Europe and how many more points we can pick up, it would be dishonest to say, ‘oh yeah, I thought we would be sitting here having this conversation.'”

Dyche believes an ever-maturing squad is helping their cause, with his players more able to cope with greater demands placed on them by the coaching staff.

“Experience at this level is really important,” he added. “Some you can bring in and some is how players mature into it. There have been good signs of that with players adapting to the challenge.

“Players get wiser, not just with the physical, technical and tactical demands but knowing what the Premier League is, the media and the feel around Premier League games.”