Burnley’s “amazing” efforts in the Premier League this season remain undiminished despite a dramatic final-day defeat by Bournemouth, says manager Sean Dyche.
The Cherries’ victory at Turf Moor took a little of the gloss off their hosts’ celebration of a return to European football for the first time in 51 years.
“Your winning instinct gets knocked but I haven’t forgotten what we’ve done,” said Dyche.
“These lads have been fantastic with what they’ve given as a collective this season and with what European competition means for this area.”
Burnley finished the season seventh – their best position in the top flight since coming sixth in 1974 – and will resume pre-season training five days earlier than normal in readiness for their entrance into the Europa League qualifying rounds on 26 July.
They had looked capable of ending the season on a high note when Ashley Westwood’s shot took a huge deflection off team-mate Chris Wood to deliver the opening goal.
However, the Cherries – who end the season in 12th – showcased their powers of recovery to level via Joshua King’s sumptuous curling effort in the second period.
Callum Wilson scored a late winner after Jermain Defoe capitalised on a Kevin Long mistake, meaning Bournemouth conclude their campaign having amassed 21 points from losing positions, the most in the Premier League.
“Next year we’d like to take the lead more but the attitude of our players today to come back is really pleasing,” said manager Eddie Howe.
Is Lewis Cook on the plane to Russia?
One notable absentee from the Bournemouth line-up at kick-off was England midfielder Lewis Cook.
The 21-year-old has been involved in Gareth Southgate’s past two squads in the build-up to this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and made his debut against Italy in March.
Yet with safety assured, Howe said he had decided to omit Cook with an England call-up in mind.
“He’s had a lot of games, a lot of exposure, a lot of pressure placed upon him,” Howe said.
“We just wanted him to be free of that for a little bit longer so we sent him away, he’s abroad, to try and make sure he doesn’t suffer from burn-out maybe next season.”
Dyche the manager of the year?
Since Burnley last ventured into Europe in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1966-67, they have travelled down and back up the English professional pyramid, almost going out of business in the 1980s.
However, even the most optimistic of supporters could not have imagined the way their season would unfold after a 16th-place finish last term.
With one of the lowest wage bills in the division, Burnley’s success has been constructed on a diet of hard work, determination and skill, fostered by Dyche, who joined the club five and a half years ago when they were mid-table in the Championship.
With the departure of Arsene Wenger from Arsenal, Dyche becomes the second longest-serving manager in the Premier League behind Howe.
Burnley’s achievements this season promote the virtues of longevity and perhaps place Dyche in the frame for the manager of the year award when it is announced next week.
“I’ve been on the list a couple of times in the past but I haven’t won one. That would be nice,” he said.
Bournemouth’s powers of recovery
Bournemouth’s campaign has been characterised by their ability to retrieve a losing position.
They ended their season with the same scoreline as when their recipe for comebacks began against Brighton at the Vitality Stadium in September.
At Burnley, the turnaround was largely due to the contribution of substitutes Dan Gosling, Wilson and Defoe.
The presence of Wilson and Defoe in particular unnerved a Burnley defence that had, until their introduction, been unperturbed apart from when Aaron Lennon appeared to trip King in the penalty area.
“They are three quality players, the substitutes. I couldn’t have picked a better three to come on,” Howe said.
“They came on and helped the momentum to shift back our way like we’ve done with our substitutes at other times this season.”
With Wilson and Defoe on, the game opened up, allowing the space for King to restore parity.
Wilson’s winner – his first in 12 matches, created by Defoe’s persistence and unselfishness – was ample reward for Howe’s boldness and the spirit in the camp.
Man of the match – Joshua King (Bournemouth)
First victory at Burnley – the stats
- Burnley have won the lowest percentage of their Premier League points in home games this season (48% – 26 out of 54). Last season, they won a league-high 82.5% of their Premier League points at home (33/40)
- The Cherries enjoyed their first victory in 15 visits to Burnley in all competitions (D6 L8)
- Wood has netted six goals in his past nine Premier League games, after scoring only four in his first 15
- Wood is only the third Burnley player to score 10 or more goals in a Premier League campaign, after Danny Ings (11 in 2014-15) and Sam Vokes (10 in 2016)
- King netted his 30th Premier League goal for Bournemouth, 11 more than any other player for the Cherries
- King has scored in three successive Premier League games against Burnley; against no other side has he scored in more consecutive games (also three against Swansea)