West Ham manager David Moyes has made a rather unusual statement about Burnley and Sean Dyche ahead of the teams’ Premier League clash at London Stadium this evening.
While the Hammers boss was keen to praise his Clarets counterpart for guiding the Lancashire side into the top half of the table as the season nears its climax, he dropped a noteworthy comment about the visitors’ motivational levels ahead of the match.
As per Football London, Moyes said: “Burnley have had a brilliant season, Sean [Dyche] has done a great job and hopefully he is not that interested in this game.”
It is fair to say that Burnley can enjoy the rest of the season without any great pressure, sitting 10th in the table and long since clear of any threat of relegation. However, it would be unwise to maintain that they are simply fulfilling the remainder of their campaign.
Going into the West Ham game, the Clarets are only two points behind eighth-placed Tottenham and could leapfrog both them and Sheffield United if Dyche’s team win this evening and the Blades lose at Wolves. Conversely, if Burnley win and Wolves are beaten, the Clarets will be only three points behind Nuno Espirito Santo’s men and six adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United. [via premierleague.com]
If Manchester City’s appeal against their ban from UEFA competitions is unsuccessful – the verdict on that case is due next Monday – then eighth place will almost certainly be good enough for a place in the Europa League qualifiers, and that is certainly within Burnley’s reach. Plus, with prize money differences of roughly £2m between finishing positions in the Premier League (as per Goal.com), it is in the Clarets’ best interests to finish as high as possible even if their European charge falls short.
Furthermore, with some speculation over Dyche’s future at Turf Moor following a recent disagreement with the board, the manager will highly likely want a strong finish to the season to make a point to the club’s hierarchy, even notwithstanding their potential push for Europe.
To his credit, Moyes has acknowledged the excellent work done by Dyche to have Burnley – with one of the smallest and lowest market value squads in the Premier League (as per TransferMarkt) – in the top half and challenging for Europe this season.
However, to remark that he hopes the Clarets boss may perhaps be “not that interested” in this evening’s clash against West Ham seems a bizarre statement to make, especially with Burnley still having a realistic chance of breaking into the European positions.
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