Burnley enjoy view from lofty perch as Stoke win sends them fourth

12 December 2017

Sean Dyche said Burnley will enjoy their lofty position but will refocus quickly after another narrow victory over Stoke.

The 1-0 win at a wet and windy Turf Moor was the Clarets' eighth victory by a single goal this season and saw them climb above Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool into fourth place in the Premier League table.

They are likely to drop out of the Champions League spots when those teams play on Wednesday but it is another sign of the tremendous progress the club has made under Dyche.

Burnley have not been higher in the top flight since the 1970s, and Dyche said: " The league doesn't lie in one way. It's unpredictable that we're where we are just because of how good the other teams are, not because we're not a good team.

"But we've earned the right to be where we are. We'll enjoy that but the lads know the next game comes quickly so we've got to be ready.

"I'm proud of a lot of things, it's not just the league position. We've worked hard to create a lot of new records from when I first got here to where we are now but they're markers in time, they're not markers about all the stuff you don't see.

"We don't want to take anything for granted because it owes you nothing this game."

This was not one of Burnley's better performances, with Stoke having much the better of what few chances there were.

But the home side got the crucial goal in the 89th minute when Ashley Barnes controlled Jack Cork's long ball, got it back from Scott Arfield and fired past Jack Butland.

"The conditions were as bad as I've seen in a long time," said Dyche. "It was an awkward one but I'm really, really pleased with that result. It's probably one of the most pleasing of the season.

"Credit to them because they've come off a bad result, they've changed their shape, and we've had to defend really, really well."

The result deepened the gloom at Stoke, who have made their worst start to a Premier League season and sit just three points above the relegation zone.

The squad were confronted by angry fans at the railway station following Saturday's 5-1 defeat by Tottenham and manager Mark Hughes was at least happy to see his side respond.

He said: "In terms of what I was asking before the game, it was everything. Unfortunately we suffered like many teams have suffered here by allowing them one chance and it's fallen nicely for them.

"They take the three points, which I don't think anyone who was at the ground honestly thinks they deserve. We're disappointed because obviously we wanted some reward for that performance, and it was clearly important for us.

"We've got a big game at the weekend at home and we need everyone to get behind the guys. They're working hard, they're trying to turn things around. We need a little bit of luck but if we perform like that we'll be fine."

There were loud boos and chants of 'you don't know what you're doing' when Hughes replaced Xherdan Shaqiri with Eric Choupo-Moting late on.

The result made Saturday's clash with fellow strugglers West Ham potentially very important for Hughes' future.

"There's a little bit of dissent at the moment, you understand that," he said. "It's been there for a number of months and you only keep it down if you win football matches. Of late we haven't done that."