The fitness is good and the mentality is good
When Burnley travel to Fulham tomorrow we will come up against a manager who, like ours, has won two promotions to the Premier League.
Former Chelsea midfielder Slavişa Jokanović took Watford up in 2014 and last season equalled that feat with a play-off winning promotion with Fulham who have returned to the Premier League after a four year absence.
Everyone seems to be asking whether our involvement in the Europa League is going to affect us in the premier League. Speaking about it, Jokanović said: “The last two and a half years I played Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday. They cannot complain. They had great success last season.
“Many people are talking about the Europa League and these kind of successful steps that this team made. They were a promoted team, and then relegated after their first attempt. Then they came back to the Premier League, survived one year, and then this last year had some really great achievements for Burnley.
“I believe it’s not only one year, they’ve played with confidence for a few years, and in the end they are enjoying this situation of playing Sunday, Thursday, Sunday Thursday.”
He was speaking before our game in Athens, and added: “We are going to try to find some kind of benefit from this game they are going to play tonight, but in the end we know what Burnley are about. They are never tired, they are running and fighting like a really crazy gang. I have respect for them, respect for how they play football and respect for all the successful steps they have made these few seasons.
“They are one of the most settled teams in this competition. They know each other and how they want to play, what the targets are for these players. The beginning of the season can be tough for us for this reason, we don’t have this continuity this time to know each other.
“I know our supporters, after two games, are going to expect some points. I expect we are going to find a great atmosphere in our stadium, like always last year. They were crucial in the past for our promotion, and I am sure we are going to find this support from the stands in the next game too.
“We need to be competitive. We understand all the games present a chance to win, and this is another chance for us on Sunday afternoon. We know what we need, we need the victory, and we are going to try to force the situation to win the points.”
“The players won’t need picking up,” he said. “We made a lot of changes the other night and the one good side about this, going into the season, is that we have a lot of competitively fit players now. That bodes well for the long term and the Premier League season.
“It’s a tough early stage, with a lot of games, we know that, but we have got a fit group of players and we just need the ones back from injury now. The fitness is good and the mentality is good.”
Fulham have spent a lot of money during the recent transfer window whereas we perhaps fell short in terms of the players we wanted to bring in. “It’s life at Burnley and it’s not new to me, “Dyche said. “The model of football has gone now. Most owners don’t care about that any more, they just run it how they want to. That’s fine by me, but this club clearly wants to make sure that not only the next month is looked after but the next two or three years.
“The challenge is to remain competitive and rolling that system out year after year is very difficult. It’s a tricky balance to find the right players and the right wage level, the right ability and consistency of performance needed. It’s very difficult and to do it in the financial parameters we have is a tough task, year on year.
“This year we didn’t get the number of players I was hoping to get, but we still got some very good players. But because it’s so delicately balanced , it’s hard to buy those players and tick all the boxes I mentioned.”Follow UpTheClarets:
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