Burnley win away at Southampton on Saturday in the English Premier League; Liverpool lose in Madrid on Tuesday in the Champions League and suddenly Sean Dyche and Diego Simeone are tagged the “anti-football soul brothers.”
Managers try to instruct their teams how to win football games and it is crucial to remember that a football manager’s playbook considers the opponents strengths and weakness and how to nullify the opposition and come away with a positive result for their team.
Dyche won at Southampton, Simeone imposes a defeat on Klopp and suddenly the howls of derision become a chorus.
Ex-Chelsea player David Luiz now with Arsenal, famously (or rather infamously) inferred Burnley are the masters of “anti-football”. Liverpool supporters are now implying Burnley and Atletico Madrid play the game using all the tools of soccer’s “dark arts”. Being a rather rabid Claret and a proud supporter of Burnley Football Club, I must confess to a certain fondness of the comparison!
From Alf Ramsey’s revelatory World Cup winning 4-3-3 formation to Sean Dyche’s favoured 4-4-2, there is sufficient proof to suggest there is no good or bad way to play the beautiful game. Football is a result’s driven business; Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder is fast becoming another disciple of the Dyche/Simeone “results matter, not performance” cartel.
For football club supporters, it all comes down to taste. All I know is the thousand or so Burnley fans who ran the gauntlet of “Storm Dennis” to make the risky journey to the south coast were purring with delight post-match in Southampton’s various restaurants and bars. Jeff Hendrick’s raking diagonal pass found Burnley substitute Matej Vydra to provide a goal of the season contender.
Believe me when I tell you it was still being celebrated in the early hours of Sunday morning by the gang from the north.
This season, I have personally witnessed the Clarets play an eclectic mix of rhythmic short-passing, while sometimes going for the more direct approach. I could not find on Saturday evening anything other than an ecstatic Burnley fan. Style over substance? Frankly I think Burnley have both. “Anti-football” is not being played by Sean Dyche’s team who are stealthily creeping towards European competition once again.
Perhaps Dyche’s newly discovered “Soccer Soul Brother” might give us Kieron Trippier back? (TEC).