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Manuel Pellegrini is back at Turf Moor tomorrow, the first time he’ll have been in the away dug out since his Manchester City team were beaten by a George Boyd goal four seasons ago.

He took over from David Moyes at West Ham in the summer and saw his team win 2-1 at Southampton on Thursday night and he reflected on them going into the top half having kicked off the season with four defeats.

“I’m happy,” he said. “When you start with zero points in 12 then it’s always difficult to recover your position in this way. In this moment, we are in the top ten. We will continue fighting and improving and, with 27 points, in the second round, we continue improving with our winning mentality, and we try to finish the season as near the top of the table as we can.”

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Things aren’t going quite so well for Sean Dyche and Burnley, and when the Clarets’ boss spoke yesterday, he admitted: “We’ve got to stay strong to our beliefs and keep delivering on that and also remind ourselves of the positive side.

“When we play how we can play, and we do make it awkward for teams while being a threat, then we have shown we can get results and I think that’s important to remember. I believe in what we do, I believe in the squad and I believe we have the players here who can be effective. But I equally believe it has to happen pretty quickly. We can’t just keep waiting week on week and me saying performances are improving, even though generally over the past how many games I think they have. You’ve got to turn performances into wins.”

He added: “All games are important, but it’s a different story going against some clubs than it is against others, home and away. I think there’s a group of teams we have to challenge ourselves against and we’re playing some of them in the next four games. Also, beyond that, there is a clutch of games where we’ve got one of the big teams in there and the rest are teams we’d like to think we should be competing against.”

It’s a totally different story at Burnley than a year ago, but Dyche said: “We’ve had a lot of good times here. It’s the first really tough period we’ve had where a lot of questions are being asked from outside and inside, and from me as well. That’s made it harder, but there’s a resilience to being in football and I quite enjoy that side of it.

“When you are at stretch, are you being diligent, are you working to put any questions right and working to find the right mixture? Of course, you are and I do enjoy that side of it, albeit it’s nice when it’s going smoothly and it’s somewhat more comfortable.

“You can’t be in this industry and not win that many games and not get questioned. It just doesn’t work like that. I’ve built up some credit in the bank here from years of service, but that goes out the window. I totally understand people questioning me, questioning the team, questioning the players, questioning the club. There’s a lot to question when things aren’t right, but equally, you have to balance that off. Some of the practices are just the same. We took the plaudits when it was going well, so I’m certainly not one to start crying it in when the challenge isn’t going right for us.

“We all knew we had out-performed the market, statistically and in the actual position. It was a fantastic season by the way (2017/18). We enjoyed that. But it’s not last season. We are the year after. It is the half-way point of the Premier League and we are third from bottom of the Premier League and we haven’t got the points we wanted to get. We certainly think, even with what’s gone on this season, we probably let four or five points go. That’s got to be addressed and that’s our job, to address that and change it coming into the New Year and, of course, the second half of the season.”



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