A ‘surprised’ Sean Dyche breaks his silence speaking for the first time on being sacked by lowly Burnley earlier this season.
The 50-year-old was axed at Turf Moor on the 15th of April after nine and a half years in charge and the Clarets have gone on to take 10 points from their past five games under caretaker Mike Jackson with a storm looming amid concerns around their financial status.
The Lancashire side currently sit above the drop zone on goal difference but with a game in hand on Leeds United, who were outclassed by Chelsea on Wednesday night, and Dyche said it would be a “big achievement” if the Clarets remain in the top tier .
“The knife edge of the season at Burnley is that winning and losing is marginal,” Dyche told the Second Captains Podcast.
“I thought we were losing our edge, not the quality, but the edge the players have to play with.
“And what you notice when we left and they win the game after, it is almost like someone lifts everything up off you.
“I thought the edge is coming off some of these and footballers start growing their own opinions and start deciding they know what they need and what they want.
“It is almost like a collective down time when it just starts drifting. Then we pop up with a big win against Everton and we are back in the room.
“But then we go and play Norwich and the expectancy changes. Then the edge is important and when you haven’t quite got that edge, players do that one per cent different – that nervousness, that edginess.”
Questioned if he had seen the decision made by American chairman Alan Pace, coming, Dyche replied that only the timing left him surprised. The decision came five days after a losing to Norwich and only 48 hours before a trip to West Ham.
“There’s a different vibe, a certain instinct when you’ve been in the game a long time and you think there’s a change of feel,” Dyche added. “The only surprise, if you looked at the season’s fixtures you were coming into a block of games where you go, ‘OK, they are winnable games’.
“It doesn’t mean you’ll win them but they were winnable … I looked at them games and thought we’d be fine. You could argue Tottenham away is still tough. The rest you thought, OK, and by the time it comes around the only question mark was I kindly spoke to Alan, who’s a good guy by the way and said: ‘You know Alan, I’m just amazed by the timing.’ It’s the Friday and we lost on the Sunday.
“That was probably more of a surprise, the timing, not whether it could happen. Of course it could happen. I’d said for many years that you’ve got to win games. If you don’t win games, you don’t stay in the job. It’s as simple as that. The timing was a question mark for me but the fact it came my way, I don’t have magic dust.”
Dyche is open to a return to management if “the right project” comes along but admits it is not always that easy.
He added: “I don’t feel like I need a break but if a break comes my way I will use it wisely.
“Then it is when does the time come. You want the right people and the right project but that is not that easy and you often don’t know until you are in it anyway.
“I have no problem with working abroad, no problem with the geography of the country. I’m pretty flexible with my thinking on what can and can’t be done on clubs, so I’m pretty open minded.”
Sean Dyche explained his comments about Everton following Burnley’s win over the Toffees last month, looking back on how they were misconstrued, taken out of context and lifted the lid on a getting a phone call with Frank Lampard.
He said: “You’ve got to remember we’d just beat Everton on the Wednesday, and performed really well particularly in the second half. We deserve it. It’s important actually. I got a lot of heat, I made a really innocent comment in that game – which I spoke to Frank Lampard directly about actually, and people forget that.
“He, just to be clear, said that – he said ‘I’ve spoke to Sean’. I got his number and I made sure I said that this has been completely misconstructed. If you watch the whole interview when I clearly said ‘I’ve been down this road a number of times, and sometimes you just forget almost how to win a game’. And that all of a sudden becomes I’ve got some sleight or some angle or some this or that – which I wasn’t.
“When it went out I said, ‘I’m not having that’. And I don’t normally do this but I thought I’d reach out to Frank because it’s not on, which I did. I didn’t go and tell the world I did that, I just kept it between me and him. He graciously said, ‘No no, I’ve spoke to Sean, all is fine’. Of course that story can’t go away so quickly, so then it grows wings a little bit – and you’re like woah woah, everyone’s forgetting the fact that the two people involved said fair’s fair.”
Podcast host Richie Sadlier praised Dyche over his attitude of respect with other managers during his managerial career, with Dyche explaining: “It’s [respect for other managers] one of my rules of thumb. When I went into this world of management, I said to myself that no matter what happens, don’t step on the manager’s toes before the game. We get it a lot before the game, ‘they play like this, they play like that’, I’ve never done that.
“After the game, I’ve never called another manager. The reason why, I acutely knew how tough it is to be a manager. A few managers in my first season had threw me completely under the bus, the usual stuff on style and brand.
“I remember thinking I’m not going to do that. Out of respect for the world of management, I’m not going to do that. Which was why I got hold of Frank’s number.
“I said, ‘Just to be clear, just watch the interview, look at the tone and my body language, I’m representing the truth of a management story. Not about you or about Everton, of my story’.
“I’ve been down that road when I’ve been looking at my team and thinking I’m not sure they know how to get this over the line. I felt, on that night, Everton were a bit like that – so I said it to the players at half time. I said I’m not sure, I didn’t slag anyone off or undermine anybody, I said ‘I’m not sure these know’ – blah blah blah.”