BURNLEY may have lost two of their big names on the pitch this summer, but captain Tom Heaton believes they’ve kept the most integral part to the club’s success ahead of today’s Premier League kick-off.

While Michael Keane and Andre Gray have departed, manager Sean Dyche remains at Turf Moor, despite speculation linking him with Crystal Palace at the start of the summer.

Dyche will take charge of his 219th Burnley game today as the season begins with a trip to champions Chelsea, and his skipper believes keeping Dyche could be the best piece of Burnley business this summer.

Asked how important Dyche is to the club, Heaton said: “It’s difficult to put into words, we’ll say massive. He sets the tone for everything and we try and put it in place and it’s been very good so far, he’s the biggest part of that.

“Having worked with him closely for the last four a and a bit years and the success he’s brought, I love playing for him, I love working with him and the staff, it’s been a fantastic journey so far and I’m hoping it continues.”

Dyche was favourite to replace Sam Allardyce at Selhurst Park at the end of May and for a large part of June and was on Palace’s shortlist for the job.

But in the end the Eagles appointed Frank de Boer on June 26 and Dyche remains in situ at Turf Moor.

Heaton was away with England for some of the time while Palace were searching for a new boss and when not on international duty he tried to switch off in the summer, although the Clarets No.1 admitted he was aware of the speculation.

“My phone was down for the summer, but I was aware of the talk, knowing zero details on it, but I’m just delighted he’s still here,” the 31-year-old said.

Dyche is set to celebrate five years in charge of Burnley at the end of October and he’s now the seventh longest serving manager at the 92 Football League clubs.

His influence at Turf Moor has been wide ranging but Heaton credits him with bringing in an ethos at the club that can withstand any playing departures.

“That’s one of the biggest things,” the skipper added. “Obviously he gives enough freedom for individuals to perform and excel but the overriding factor is that team ethos and squad mentality.

“We’ve lost players over the years and we’ll probably lose players again at some point, but it doesn’t shake us. It’s an opportunity for other players to step in and fill the unit. We work in units and departments and that’s the big factor rather than individuals and I think that’s why we’ve been successful.

“Players go and it can hurt some teams, but less so for us because he (Dyche) sets the tone for what we do.”