It’s never a one horse race
It’s FA Cup day and that usually means teams in the Premier League make a number of changes from that which plays the league games. It’s not always the case with Manchester City with Pep Guardiola often playing a very strong team.
He played a young team at Burton in the League Cup this week but without giving anything away, he said today: “Tomorrow there will be no players from the academy. I always try to put out a strong team. It’s FA Cup against a Premier League side like Burnley so we will play with the best team we believe to win the game.
Given the suggestion that maybe the game isn’t high on our priority list, he said: “When you say that the FA Cup is not top of Burnley’s agenda, does that mean eleven players are going to play at the Etihad Stadium and not want to win? I can’t believe it.
“They are going to try to play the way they did last season. They finished seventh in the league, which is an incredible achievement. They did not start well (this season) but I think they have gone five games unbeaten. I have a lot of respect for what they have done and what they try to do.”
Sean Dyche is used to taking a Burnley team to the Etihad now with tomorrow’s our sixth visit under Dyche’s management. Recalling the 5-0 league defeat this season, he said: “Earlier in the season they beat us. We fell foul that day of losing our focus after a refereeing decision and you can’t do that.
“They jumped on that, they took their next two chances and one of them they fired into the top corner. They have that edge to them, they are clinical, you can’t give them a sniff. We did on that day. We were going along well at that point. Although it was 1-0, we had a couple of chances and we were well in that game and the feel of the game.
“We’ve learned from that, that’s for sure. You can’t switch off, they stayed clued into the game at all times. That’s one of their strengths that probably gets looked over.”
Admitting that it will be a difficult game for us, he added: “It is two teams playing. It’s never a one horse race because strange things happen. No one can quite put their finger on why they often happen in the cup compared to the league. They often bring a different feel, different momentum to the game, so let’s see. We go into it open minded. it’s going to be very tough, but everyone knows that.”
Dyche continued: “Our challenge this season, as every season, is the Premier League. People sometimes misrepresent all those things. It’s not about any disrespect to the cup, absolutely not, it’s just about the factual realities of a business. Burnley has become a recognised place outside of this area because of years in the Premier League.
“We’ve changed the team more this season, some because of necessity with the early start in the Europa League, some because of the ups and downs of form and therefore I’ve felt that I had to. The cup then sort of mixes in with that this year, whereas usually it would be more specific to just the cup.
“We’re trying to get everyone back fit, we’ve got some who are on their way back to fitness who need a real challenge of a game. My expectation is to put out a side that can play and perform and to have the intent and mindset to win a game. I always do that and I always promote that with my players. There are different ways to promote it but quite clearly that is the goal, to win the game.”
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