Burnley will never roll over, they’ll just keep fighting against all the odds until they’re claret and blue in the face.
They endured a horrendous start and inconsistent finish to 2018/19 but scrapped and scrambled for every possible point until safety was assured.
Sean Dyche is the reason for the Clarets’ survival, but how long can he continue to tread water with his side?
RadioTimes.com has rounded up everything you need to know about Burnley ahead of the 2019/20 season.
THE GOALS | How about this strike from @dwight_mcneil99?
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) July 27, 2019
Where did Burnley finish last season?
16th. In 2016/17, Dyche led Burnley to a remarkable seventh-placed finish and a prized spot in the Europa League.
Nobody expected a repeat display, but while relegation was avoided, the Clarets will feel disappointed by how far they withdrew down the table.
A torrid start left Burnley with just three wins after the first half of the season.
An unexpected eight-game unbeaten streak to kick-start the new year was their only extended period of form throughout the campaign, but Burnley picked up wins in the right places over relegation rivals to guarantee their status in the top flight.
Dyche’s men won home and away against Cardiff, Bournemouth and Brighton, took four points off Huddersfield, and three off Fulham to make up 25 of their 40 precious points.
Who is Burnley’s key player?
James Tarkowski. One of the main differences between the 16/17 and 18/19 campaigns was the significant rise in goals conceded – up from just 39 to a worrying 68.
Burnley scored nine more goals than the previous campaign, but allowing the defence to be more exposed to the Premier League forces of nature last season left them battered and bruised.
Tarkowski had built up a terrific partnership alongside Ben Mee in defence, but even he couldn’t plug the gaps efficiently enough to prevent leaking goals.
The England international is going to be required to dig deep this season and organise his defence as well as handling his own defensive duties if Burnley are to escape danger.
Who is Burnley’s biggest summer signing?
Jay Rodriguez (£10m). Striker Rodriguez has returned for a second stint at Turf Moor with plenty to prove in the Premier League.
Rodriguez has never been a prolific out-and-out striker, but his 22-goal haul during the 2018/19 Championship season with West Brom represented his best tally to date.
Question marks remain over whether he can deliver consistently strong displays in the top flight after several campaigns stinted by injuries, but if Dyche can get him firing, Burnley may have pulled off a coup given the fees spent by other teams on goalscorers.
Who is the Burnley manager? Meet Sean Dyche
The unmistakable, forthright Clarets boss has overseen a rollercoaster ride at Burnley.
His seven-year reign has involved two promotions to the Premier League with a relegation campaign sandwiched between, with Burnley now about to start their fourth consecutive season in the top flight.
Dyche owns the ‘Burnley vs. the world’ attitude needed to survive on a far inferior budget to the clubs around them, and has instilled a tireless mentality into his team. What they can lack in quality, they always try make up for in sheer work ethic.
The 48-year-old does not overcomplicate his style of play, that’s no insult, sometimes less is more.
There’s no denying his direct philosophy was effective during 2016/17 and that his lesser-spotted 4-4-2 formation did get an end product out of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes last season.
However, with an average of just 43% possession during 2018/19 matches, it’s clear the pressure can get too intense to prevent cracking against many teams.
Burnley fixtures – The Start
10th August: Southampton (H)
17th August: Arsenal (A)
24th August: Wolves (A)
Burnley fixtures – The Run-In
2nd May: Wolves (H)
9th May: Norwich (A)
17th May: Brighton (H)
The fans say…
TONY SCHOLES, UPTHECLARETS
What is the mood like among fans going into 2019/20?
As you would expect it is currently mixed with over two weeks remaining before the transfer window closes. We have signed a couple of players but there are hopes that a couple more might come in and a lot of wishes that we don’t lose any of our important players.
Who will be your key player this season?
We are never going to be prolific goalscorers at this level so we have to be at it defensively. Generally, over the past three years, that’s been the strength with Michael Keane and then James Tarkowski partnering Ben Mee.
In the first half of last season we were nothing like as good, were conceding too many goals, and looked every inch a relegation team. That was, thankfully, rectified and so I would think the key players again this season will be the defenders.
Any young talents to look out for?
Dwight McNeil broke through into the first team last season and became a regular from Christmas onwards. He made a big impact too and became a big crowd favourite.
There is nothing supporters like more than to see players coming through from the junior teams. Who could be next? Josh Benson had a good first season with us last year, playing in midfield for the under-23s. He’s been with the first team in pre-season and could be the next to make a breakthrough.
From the outside, Sean Dyche is a Burnley hero after leading his team to seventh two seasons ago, but what do fans really think of him after a significantly weaker 2018/19 campaign? Is he under scrutiny?
Managers are always under scrutiny and will always be questioned. In the first half of last season there were more questions being asked about him as the team struggled.
There are some who are so appreciative of what he’s done at our club that he’ll never be questioned but that’s wrong, they always have to be. He answered a lot of those questions last season and I don’t think many Burnley supporters would wish to change manager.
You have plenty of forward options in Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood, Matěj Vydra, forgotten man Nahki Wells and the returning Jay Rodriguez – how will they all fit in? Are you confident they’ll rack up the goals?
I’m not sure they will all fit in. Nahki Wells has been a Burnley player for two years but spent last season on loan and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat of that. Vydra is one who might just get more game time this season while Rodriguez is a different kind of player to those we have. Then there are Barnes and Wood. Given their record together it seems a lot of Premier League defenders don’t like playing against them.
Where will you finish in the Premier League?
I would hope that we will be clear of the relegation battle, maybe around 12th place would be a good season for us.
Where will Burnley finish? RadioTimes.com says…
Like Eddie Howe and Bournemouth, Dyche insists on squeezing every drop out of his players, though the difference between the clubs comes down to investment.
The Cherries have been able to add dashes of exciting quality to their side, while the Clarets have struggled to spend, and when they have opened the chequebook, they’ve done so with little effect (Vydra – £10m, Ben Gibson – £15m).
Dyche can be commended for keeping costs to a minimum while crafting a competitive squad, but it feels like the clock is ticking on how long that strategy can hold out.
Another quiet window leaves Burnley with a largely similar squad to last season, while their rivals continue to arm themselves. Never write off a Sean Dyche team, but this season will be a struggle.