Dyche taken aback by Burnley's bid for Europe

Burnley boss Sean Dyche admits even he has been surprised by the club's unexpected run towards potential European qualification.

The Clarets are favourites to finish an impressive seventh in the Premier League after putting six points between them and this weekend's opponents Leicester City.

Holding their current position over the remaining six games would see Dyche's men book a Europa League qualifying spot, on the proviso that Southampton do not win the FA Cup.

It is a vast overachievement in view of the incremental improvement anticipated by the 46-year-old former Watford manager.

"No," Dyche told the Lancashire Telegraph when asked if he expected continental qualification. "The big thing for me [was whether we could] improve on last season.

"I thought with the style we play we could still be effective, and I'm pleased we have been. But sometimes it's not about you, you might be doing well, but others out there are doing better.

"But I looked at them in pre-season and thought we were stronger, and we can move forward.

"I think the style, the mentality keeps improving, signings... trying to just lift that a little bit and add more quality, and I think that's been on show."

But while Burnley are set to far surpass their previous Premier League best of 16th - set last season - Dyche is encouraged by a prevailing sense of pragmatism among supporters.

"There's a good reality, I think, to the club, and I think the fans have bought into the honesty, from what we show them," he said.

"They know we're not the real deal, but they do enjoy it when we are delivering performances like we are, and then if they're not, they accept the fact we are what we are, we're still improving, still looking to learn.

"I think they've bought into that. It's a pleasing mentality, in an industry that wants everything in a week."

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