Dyche still happy to raise a glass to Clarets’ 2019 turnaround

Sean Dyche believes his biggest achievement as Burnley boss is keeping the club in the Premier League last season in the aftermath of their heavy Boxing Day defeat to Everton.

Twelve months ago, a 5-1 home loss against the Merseysiders left Dyche’s team languishing in the relegation zone with a miserly 12 points from 19 matches.

A much-improved second half of the season, the Clarets finished the campaign with 40 points, saw them secure their top-flight safety.

This time around, Burnley face Everton on Boxing Day again but they head to Goodison Park 10th in the table with 24 points on the board.

Dyche ranks the transformation during the last year as his greatest achievement at Turf Moor – above two promotions to the Premier League and bringing Europa League football to the club.

“Everyone would probably see the fact we finished seventh (in 2018) and got into the Europa League as being my best time as manager,” Dyche told the club website.

“Not so much Burnley fans, who I think enjoyed the promotion, but I think generally people will see that as a big success – which it was.

“But turning it around last season, which obviously wasn’t just me because the players have been magnificent along with my staff, is definitely my biggest achievement as a manager.

“It involves a whole group of people to make that happen. It’s gone now but that is something I will reflect on – and already do – as being my biggest achievement.

“The hardest thing is when people clamber for you to change everything and sometimes it’s hard, but the right thing, to change nothing or very little.

“We stuck to our guns last season and we found a way of the team operating, reminded them of the simplicity of how we operate and delivered a very strong turn-around, both in performances, which I thought were very good in the second half of last season in goals scored, clean sheets, and points and that’s a very healthy mixture.”

Johann Berg Gudmundsson could return to the Burnley squad against Everton. The winger has been absent since suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with Iceland in October.

He played 90 minutes for the club’s Under-23 side on Saturday and came through the match unscathed, after playing for an hour in a behind-closed-doors game last week.

His return could be a timely one with Jeff Hendrick suspended. Aaron Lennon missed training on Monday due to illness but it is hoped he will be fit in time for Boxing Day.