Dyche Admits League Takes Precedence As City Trip Looms
Sean Dyche stoked the debate about the FA Cup losing its magic but is still dreaming of an upset at Manchester City.
Burnley will be backed by 7,600 fans at the Etihad Stadium for their third-round tie on Saturday and Dyche believes most of them now accept the world’s oldest knock-out competition plays second fiddle to the Premier League.
“There are a number of clubs, including ourselves, vying to stay in the Premier League, and that does take precedence,” Dyche said.
“But I don’t see it as a shame, just a reality. I love the cup but there has to be just a pure business plan of staying in the Premier League and growing the club.
“But on the other hand, are we going there trying to win? Of course we are. Absolutely. We’ll be trying our best to win.
“I think the fans may be more understanding of that approach than the media suggests, although I can understand why that is said.
“But in pure business terms the welfare of the club revolves around being in the Premier League. Fact.”
Dyche, who played in Chesterfield’s famous cup run in 1997 when they held Middlesbrough to a 3-3 draw in the semi-finals before losing the replay, insists the cup has not lost all its romance.
“Our fans will go there and back the team as they always do, but there’s a ‘what-if?’,” he said.
“What if we turn Manchester City over? There’s always that bit of marvel in that.
“It’s unusual to be talking like that in the Premier League, but I think Man City have been that powerful that most fans – apart from the very top clubs – would be wondering about that ‘what-if?’.
“I think that’s the magic of the cup. Everyone is looking for the result where the small club beats the big club, or the local rivalry. That’s what we are all looking for in the cup.”
Dyche said changes to his starting line-up would be made out of necessity. Midfielder Scott Arfield has been ruled out due to a hamstring strain and joins Chris Wood, Stephen Ward, Tom Heaton and Robbie Brady on the sidelines.
City have extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 30 matches and are undefeated in the same number of games at the Etihad, where they did not lose in 2017.
“They have made it clear they are going about their business,” Dyche added.
“It’s not just the magic of the cup, but the magic of football. It offers strange results.
“You know you have to perform well. They could make 11 changes and be a super-strong side on paper. I don’t think we overthink the realities of that.
“On the other hand I believe in our squad and they are motivated to play. So that’s the first marker and we will see what else comes.”