Burnley manager Sean Dyche has welcomed the international programme breaking until next March but he is wary of using the interrupted start to the Premier League season as an excuse for his side stumbling out of the blocks.
Not even a quarter of the 2020-21 top-flight campaign has been completed but there have already been two international breaks, possibly disrupting clubs in their efforts to build up a head of steam.
However, it is four months until the international calendar resumes, allowing Burnley to fully focus on their predicament, having claimed just two points from seven matches ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace on Monday.
“It does give us a focus on what we need to clear our minds to and the task in front of us,” Dyche said.
“But that hasn’t been lacking, I think there’s other things that have got in the way of our form but we do have to take responsibility for what comes next, including myself of course.
“It does give us the clear view to get on with our workload and then take it into the games, supply the performances that can get us results.”
After facing Palace, Burnley face a short trip to title contenders Manchester City, who received a boost earlier this week when manager Pep Guardiola ended speculation about his future by signing a new two-year contract.
City have won 181 of the 245 matches in which Guardiola has taken charge, and set Premier League records en route to winning the 2017-18 title with 100 points before following up with a tally of 98 a season later.
However, they finished 18 points adrift of Liverpool last season as defensive problems surfaced, and have made a relatively slow start to this campaign with 12 points from the opening seven games.
“Everywhere he’s had the best players, best teams and delivered and this one’s been slightly different,” Dyche added of Guardiola, referring to the Spaniard’s success at Barcelona and Bayern Munich prior to arriving at City.
“He’s had two seasons where it’s not gone their way and he has still signed a new contract to take it on.
“He’s not afraid to take on a challenge even when it’s not quite where he wanted it to be or not as maybe set up as it was before at Barcelona and Bayern, here he’s had a couple of challenging seasons.
“I’m sure he knows the purchasing power and development power at Manchester City. I’m sure he’s wise enough to make a decision on that basis and fair play to him. Congratulations to him on signing a new deal.”
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