HATS off! It’s not just a phrase that could be attributed to Sean Dyche’s 100 per cent start to life as Burnley boss, it’s a phrase he has applied to the training ground since taking charge.
The new Clarets chief and his players have been greeted by frosty mornings at Gawthorpe a couple of times in the last fortnight.
But Dyche has urged his players to fight the chill by working hard, rather than wrapping up.
“In my world, not wearing a hat in training is just common sense,” said the 41-year-old when asked about the rules he has put in place since taking charge.
“I wish it was as easy to toughen up the environment just by telling them to take their hats off!
“That’s not about toughening anything up, you can’t wear a hat to play football, so you don’t do it in training.
“You still have to head the ball in training.”
On home matchdays, meanwhile, Burnley are suited before being booted.
“With the suits, that’s some-thing we talked about as a group. I offered that to them,” Dyche explained.
“There are certain non-negotiables, values I have that will be in place without discussion, and others that are negotiable, and the lads were fine with that.
“I just like them wearing suits for home games, it’s a mark of respect for the club and the values we’re trying to instil.
“Away from home they can wear a tracksuit, it makes more sense, it’s more comfortable and better to travel in to put the players at ease.
“That’s just part of the culture we feel is important for the club.”
He added: “People tell me if you’re smart off the pitch, you’re smart on it, but that's not what it’s about.
“There’s a lot of good people have different thoughts on it – Arsenal have been wearing tracksuits forever, home and away, and they have some very smart players!
“But I offered it to the group, we discussed it, and they went with it, and I said, ‘Brilliant’.
“I just like the respect for the club and belief in its principles, and I think it presents an image that says the players respect the club.
“We all have club ties, and it shows that bond. That’s my thinking on it.”
Dyche has instigated subtle but practical changes on the pitch too, with the back four benefiting from more protection from midfield, and the full backs forming more of a unit, with less frequent and better timed for-ward bursts.
“We wanted to tighten up the framework of the team out of possession and we’ve done that,” said the Burnley boss, who faces his first away game today at Ipswich Town.
In what will be new manager Mick McCarthy’s first home game in charge, Dyche is braced for the Tractor Boys bouncing back from a 5-0 humbling by Crystal Palace in midweek, which left them rooted to the bottom of the Championship table.
Ipswich are without a home win since March – one reason for Paul Jewell’s exit last month – but Burnley have won only once in their history at Portman Road.
Having already banished hoodoos against bogey teams Wolves and Leeds in his opening games, Dyche is not prepared to take either statistic for granted.
“You’d be expecting a reaction not only from a defeat in the week but also the fact it is his (McCarthy’s) first home game,” said Dyche, whose players are buoyant after three straight home wins and clean sheets “We’ve got to be ready for that.
“Again it comes down to our team mentality to go down there with the right qualities and deliver another good performance and get the win.
“It’s important that everyone realises not only their individual role but doing what’s important for the team.
“I think that’s been quite evi-dent in the first two games and I’m pleased the supporters have had the chance to see that.
“It’s another part of the team’s mentality to not only deliver for your home fans, but can you do it on the road?
“We want to develop further, become more consistent, become more of a force and see where that takes us.
“We are not complacent as a staff and I want to make sure the players aren’t complacent, which I don’t think they are. They haven’t given me that impression.
“But it’s been a really, really good week for my staff and we are looking to continue that at Ipswich.”
He added: “We wanted to reignite the human quality of the real demand to win.
“We’ve made a nice start, there’s been a nice base to the team. We’re still searching to add that bit of quality and balance to our defensive duties with that nice free-flowing play.
“But we certainly did the other night with a fantastic goal.”