Sean Dyche claims he is “confused” by what football fans expect fouls for after Burnley snatched a dramatic 1-0 win from a bad-tempered game at Bournemouth.
Clarets substitute Jay Rodriguez settled a dismal Premier League contest in the 89th minute with the game’s only attempt on target.
An tetchy afternoon on the rain-soaked south coast was littered with free-kicks and bookings, while Burnley striker Ashley Barnes and Cherries midfielder Phillip Billing were both fortunate to escape red cards.
Unimpressed home supporters repeatedly vented their displeasure at the visitors’ direct and physical approach, chanting ‘boring, boring Burnley’ and ‘how do you watch this every week?’, before the late sucker-punch condemned them to a third consecutive home defeat.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche, who was once again critical of perceived diving, had no real issue with any of the contentious challenges and felt a lot of decisions made by referee Martin Atkinson were soft.
“I’m always a bit confused with what the masses want now,” said Dyche.
“It would have driven me mad people diving all over the place – it drives me mad now – but as a fan, I don’t want to watch it.
“But I don’t mind a tackle, I don’t mind a challenge. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s a thing of society.
“If you get touched now, it’s like everyone’s dead, everyone’s properly dead.
“I just find that peculiar, I don’t know where that’s all at.
“There were very low contacts given as fouls. I don’t know what the fans want out of the game.
“That’s up to them. I just have to roll with it, get on with it.”
Barnes avoided a card after a reckless high boot in the seventh minute left Cherries captain Simon Francis wearing a bandage and later requiring stitches.
Billing then faced an anxious wait as VAR analysed footage of him swinging an arm into Barnes before a second-half corner.
“There’s no malice in any of it, really. Barnesy, he’s clearly gone to control the ball, one of those moments that is unfortunate,” said Dyche, who celebrated a 50th Premier League win as a manager.
“I think their lad maybe gets lucky with the VAR one, he definitely swings his arm around.
“They used to be spats, the referee would come over have a word with you, ‘Oi, stop being stupid, cut it out’. But now they can’t.
“The common sense has been taken away from them, the powers that be say you have to book them.”
Dyche also praised the contribution of match-winner Rodriguez, who bundled home off his chest following an Ashley Westwood cross after replacing Barnes with 15 minutes to play.
“The lads were absolutely buzzing for him when he came in, gave him a massive cheer because he’s a great lad, sticks at it, they know the work he puts in and he’s found a moment, so really pleased for him,” said Dyche.
“We found a way of finding an ugly win but they’re as important as anything in this division. Over a season they’re all valid, whichever way you get them.”
Burnley’s win moves them to 10th, while Bournemouth remain 14th, four points above the relegation zone.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe, who was without nine injured players, was not surprised by the physical nature of the game and felt his team could have produced more.
“That’s always how these games go against Burnley, I think that’s in part how they play and they are very good at what they do, there’s no criticism there, they’re very strong,” he said.
“But it’s more when we had the ball, we have to do more.
“There were a lot of free-kicks. From their side, that’s part of how they play, that’s what they try and create.
“We had to try and navigate our way through that better than we did, so it’s another lesson learnt.”