(Reuters) - Burnley must play with more freedom and show a “touch of mild arrogance” in the home stretch of the season, manager Sean Dyche said ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to West Ham United.
Burnley beat Everton 2-1 last weekend to end a run of 11 league games without a win. The victory also meant they have reached 40 points in the league, five behind sixth-placed Arsenal with the prospect of Europa League qualification not out of their reach.
“I hope, and I want the players to have the chance now to play with more freedom,” Dyche said. “To get to 40 points at this stage of the season is very pleasing and the lads have earned the right to do that.
“Now’s almost that time to hopefully have that little edge of ‘shoulders back, let’s take it on’ and that little bit of nervousness that comes on a tough run dissipates quickly.
“Then you’re free to go on and hopefully play well... have that little bit more of a touch of mild arrogance just to take on each challenge as it comes,” he added.
Dyche stressed that seventh-placed Burnley’s primary target of overall improvement had not changed despite their encouraging league position with nine games to go.
“To continue that growth is the main marker but of course it’s nice to finish as high as you can in the league table... the next challenge is the one that is upon us and that is West Ham, so our focus stays clear on that.”
West Ham are 14th in the league with 30 points, three points above the relegation zone.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar