Burnley vs Chelsea - Dyche believes Burnley team spirit could be enough to sink Chelsea

Posted Sunday, February 12, 2017 by PA

Sean Dyche believes his band of free transfers and Championship battlers have come together to forge a fierce team spirit that is capable of bringing down champions-elect Chelsea at Turf Moor on Sunday.

The Burnley boss might have had the luxury of shattering the club's transfer record with his B£10million swoop for Robbie Brady last month, but he believes the back-bone of his side has grown stronger from previous setbacks.

The likes of Scott Arfield, who was released by Huddersfield two years ago, and keeper Tom Heaton who joined Dyche after being relegated with Bristol City, have gone on to earn rave reviews in the top-flight this season.

Dyche said: "There are so many good stories here, it's a constant part of what we do. Everyone has moved forward.

"They value everything they have worked hard for and that is the key to it. There have been no gimmes at this club, we've had to work for everything we've got throughout my time here.

"I think there's an honesty about the way we go about it. Whether it's at home to Chelsea or the cup against Lincoln, it's another game - we've got to go to war and do our business."

Dyche believes his side have improved since their last Turf Moor clash with Chelsea two years ago, when Arfield scored the opener only for Diego Costa to reply on his Chelsea debut as the visitors ran out 3-1 winners.

He added: "A lot of management comes from experience so I've experienced a lot since then - trying to get a team to stay in the division then re-model it when we were relegated and get back up.

"All that is part of my growth and the team's. We are different - I think I'm different, my staff and the players. I think we've learnt a lot in those two years, but you can't define it on just one game."

Burnley are looking for their eighth straight home win against Antonio Conte's men and three more points would give them another huge boost in their battle to stay clear of the relegation dogfight.

And while many have appeared to be in awe of Conte's Stamford Bridge revolution this season, Dyche insists it is his job to identify weak points and set out in the belief that his side can upset the odds again.

He added: "Weaknesses? I don't know - it's difficult to detect in a lot of the top sides, but the beauty of football is that even if you can't find them they sometimes just occur.

"Sometimes it's about allowing your team to play to find a weakness - that's part of the challenge of football and I think we do that reasonably well.

"They are a good side and they have some good individuals. There is always a 'but' though. Why do underdogs beat favourites? Because ways are found for that to happen.

"Our job is to find a way even against teams where pundits are telling me that they don't have a weakness. We have to find a way."

Cesc Fabregas is a genius and can be Chelsea's Andrea Pirlo, according to manager Conte.

Pirlo was Conte's midfield linchpin for Juventus and Italy.

The Chelsea boss believes Fabregas has the same speed of thought.

"Cesc is a top player and is a genius at football. I can talk in the same way about Andrea Pirlo," Conte said.

"Cesc if he doesn't run 100 metres in 10 seconds, I can allow him this, because he's a genius with the ball. His velocity is in his mind."

Yet unlike Pirlo, Fabregas has been restricted to mainly substitute appearances this season.

Conte underlined the Spain international's importance and pointed to the form of N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, his chosen central midfield players.

But Sunday's trip to Burnley, plus the apparently favourable forthcoming fixture list, could present Fabregas with a chance to stake his claim for more regular action.

"Sometimes you must make the decision and to look the balance of the team," Conte added.

"And sometimes you must make different decisions. For me Cesc is an important player.

"And I try to put him always in the best condition to give us his best for the team.

"Don't forget in his place is playing Kante. A lot of people spoke that he is the best player in the league.

"Then is Matic that I think is playing in an outstanding way.

"When you have two players in front (of you) playing so well it's not easy.

"It's the same for Willian and Pedro. For me, sometimes it's very difficult to sleep and to make the best decision.

"But I prefer to have this type of problem. The most important thing is these players are totally involved in the team.

"Cesc is playing with us and is very important for the team."

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