04 April 2022

Sean Dyche: Everton’s relegation woes indication of difficulty of Premier League

04 April 2022

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has admitted Everton’s relegation woes are simply an indication of the difficulty of life in the Premier League.

The 19th-placed Clarets, who have lost their four most recent league fixtures, welcome Frank Lampard’s Toffees – defeated in four of their last five, but four points better off in 17th – to Turf Moor on Wednesday evening for a game which could have a major say in the fight for top-flight survival.

Dyche’s side have become hardened after a series of successful survival battles, but Everton, who have spent in excess of £560million on new signings in the last six years and started the campaign with Champions League winner Rafael Benitez at the helm, have not been in such serious trouble since 1998, when they stayed up only by virtue of goal difference.

It just goes to show you how tough it is.

Asked about former midfielder Peter Reid’s suggestion that Wednesday night’s is one of the club’s biggest games since, the Burnley boss said: “It just goes to show you the strength of the Premier League when teams of even their strength, their financial strength and the feel of the club, the history of the club, if you like, are having a tough season.

“It’s happened – I remember playing in an era when Manchester City dropped down two divisions. It can happen.

“I suppose in a way the odd anomaly and marvel of football is that’s it’s not that easy. Everyone has challenging – or most have challenging seasons.

“But it just goes to show you how tough it is, a big club, lots of players there brought in for a lot of money, a well-thought-of manager – and managers previously – and still having a tough season.

“But that’s the power of the Premier League. I speak of it all the time. It’s a very, very tough division.”

Dyche will once again be without influential skipper Ben Mee as he continues his recovery from a knee injury, while striker Matej Vydra has a chance of making the squad.

Midfielder Aaron Lennon knows exactly what is at stake over the remaining weeks of the season, but is equally well aware that the club has seen it all before.

He told Burnley’s official website: “There’s no panic in the dressing room. We know the situation that we’re in, but right now, we’re still confident.

Everton manager Frank Lampard (right) has been thrust into the thick of a relegation battle (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

“We’ve looked at the games and we know that if we do what we can do, then we can still get out of this. It’s a difficult task, but we’re very capable as a group.

“With the run in that we have, there’s still a lot of opportunities for us to go and win football games.”

With Sunday’s trip to bottom-of-the-table Norwich to come, Lennon is convinced the clash could prove pivotal.

He said: “It is a massive game, there’s no hiding from it. We look at the table and know how big this is. It’s at home and for us to get three points would put us in a strong position going into the weekend.”

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