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Aug 17, 2014

Dyche: Clarets used to big games

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Burnley boss Sean Dyche hopes the experience of earning promotion against the odds can stand his players in good stead for the tests to come in the Barclays Premier League.

The Clarets have no chance to ease themselves into the top flight with likely title challengers Chelsea the first visitors to Turf Moor on Monday evening.

Much has been made of the considerable differences between the two clubs, but Dyche expects his players to meet the challenge head on.

Looking back to the 2-0 win over Wigan in April that clinched promotion for Burnley, the manager said: "There were some big games last year, people forget that.

"We played Wigan and delivered a fantastic performance, and that's probably the biggest game these players have played in a long time, because that one clinches what you're trying to do, and that means a lot to the club, a lot financially, a lot to the area, and of course the kudos of getting promoted.

"It's fair to say the first one against Chelsea, massive club, coming to Turf Moor under the lights with the TV cameras, that's a big game in itself.

"So it's how the players respond. We work hard on the training pitch to allow them the chance to deliver when that moment comes."

Dyche knows they must make the most of Turf Moor to give themselves the best possible chance of survival.

In their only previous season in the Premier League, in 2009/10, Burnley picked up 26 points at home, but only four away and were relegated.

"I got the feeling last season that there was a true belief with the fans and the player connection," said Dyche.

"I think they really felt they had a group who were totally motivated towards the shirt and the club and the cause. They've come to really understand that and the positivity around that.

"They certainly will know we need that because the task has gone up again. We want the fans to stay with us of course and they did do last season, even when we had a couple of testing times at home.

"We'd go a goal down and there was a calmness to the stadium, a belief that the group would keep going.

"We're renowned for that, we are relentless in the way that we work and the way we approach games and deliver. We're looking to make sure that's still intact."

Only striker Sam Vokes, who ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in March, definitely misses out for Burnley.

Summer signings Lukas Jutkiewicz, Michael Kightly, Steven Reid, Marvin Sordell and Matt Taylor will hope to make their Clarets debuts.

Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea must learn how to unpick opponents who throw 10 men behind the ball or miss out on the Premier League title again.

The Chelsea manager admits his Stamford Bridge side fell short in last term's title race due to a lack of final-third quality, but Mourinho believes new recruits Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa will help solve that problem.

The Portuguese boss admitted Chelsea have worked extensively in pre-season on unpicking opponents who set out solely to nullify his side's threats.

"We need more quality in our football," said Mourinho.

"When you have matches with space and time it's much easier to play football.

"When you don't have space and time because a lot of football is based around tactics and systems: in a very simple way, everything depends on space and time.

"And when you don't have space and time to play, you need more quality.

"We are working exactly in that direction.

"We need more quality in our game, and we are working on that.

"We have worked on exactly that in training, expecting a team to be defensive and try to close every road to goal."

Last term, Mourinho's first season in his second managerial tenure at Chelsea, ended with no silverware reward.

Defeats like the galling 1-0 home reverse to relegation-battling Sunderland left Mourinho defending his top stars at the time.

Now though the Chelsea manager has conceded only sharper build-up play will allow the west London club to break their trophy deadlock.

Mourinho has admitted he will face a big test to keep both goalkeeping rivals Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois happy this term - but did not foresee similar issues in the Blues' midfield.

The Chelsea boss believes Fabregas will offer a new dimension in midfield play this term to complement a host of box-to-box runners.

The former Real Madrid and Inter manager said none of his midfielders will command automatic selection - but neither will any be out in the cold.

"That is not so tough, because we play 60 matches in a season," he said.

"In this first two weeks it's one match a week, but after that starts the cups, the Champions League and the national team.

"So you have to adapt, nobody will feel they are first or second choice.

"Mikel, Matic, Ramires, Fabregas, Schurrle, Van Ginkel: so everyone will play, everyone will feel useful, important.

"On the field we have a very good balance."

Mourinho will keep Courtois and Cech guessing on who will start on Monday night, while striker Didier Drogba is expected to shake off an ankle problem.

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