Soccer-Burnley's Dyche praises squad's mentality after difficult period


Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Burnley - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - January 23, 2022 Burnley manager Sean Dyche reacts Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

LONDON (Reuters) - Burnley manager Sean Dyche praised his depleted squad's mentality on Sunday after they earned themselves a valuable Premier League point away at Arsenal, following a period hit by injury and COVID-19 infections.

In only their third league match since Dec. 12, the struggling Clarets fended off attack after attack from the Gunners, holding on for a draw that leaves them just four points adrift of the safety zone and with games in hand on the teams above them.

"The mentality was the biggest thing for me. It's an awkward moment, we've had some real challenges - players missing, playing with a couple of days training, and others coming back from injury," Dyche told reporters.

"We spoke about doing the basics well and I thought they did that today."

He said his side had showed quality and determination, and only lacked goals to get back into contention for survival in the top division.

Dyche said injuries, illness and back-to-back losses to Manchester United and Leeds United had not helped their cause, however.

"We're a goal shy of having more points and a goal shy of that feel-good factor of wins, but you don't get them. We had a couple of iffy performances, then we've had a break, then we've had COVID," he said.

Burnley had a number of league games postponed since mid-December due to not having enough players available, meaning they could soon face a packed fixture list as they catch up with other sides.

Dyche said the most important thing now was to get his players fit and back in training.

"We've only had a group that we could work with really in the last two days, we just didn't have the bodies," he said.

"Hopefully over the next few weeks we start getting numbers back, fit and well and sharp."

(Reporting by Hugh Lawson, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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