WHEN Sean Dyche said he demanded sweat on the shirt, it wasn’t lip service. And the sentiment wasn’t just restricted to matchdays. Kieran Trippier can vouch for that.
The full back has revealed he has never been worked as hard at any stage of the football calendar – even pre-season, when long runs and bleep tests are most prominent – as he has been under the current Burnley boss.
But the former Manchester City defender doesn’t mind the hard yards if performances keep paying off.
Dyche’s philosophy is straightforward.
“We set a precedent here that you train how you play, and that means you are demanding of each other with the tempo, the work ethic, but also the details and the quality,” he said.
“They have worked hard. We believe in it.
“We are big on the technical quality here. It is a belief of mine that once you naturally rehearse it, when you come into a stadium you’re ready to go.
“If things aren’t going your way you can rely on the fact that you’ve been doing it right all the time to deliver performances.”
The disappointment of an FA Cup exit aside, the Clarets couldn’t have wished for a better start to 2013, with three wins from three in the Championship firing them from mid-table to the cusp of the play-off positions.
Clean sheets have been recorded on each occasion too.
And Trippier explained how improved fitness levels had made them more focused.
“You need to be fit these days to play at this tempo,” said the defender, who is looking to continue a winning trend at home to Birmingham City tomorrow.
“You can see by the stats how far we’ve run individually and as a team. We’ve matched everyone we’ve played since the Wolves game, we’ve run more than any other team and passed more, and the stats don’t lie.
“That’s what gets you the results.
“When we were winning 1-0 at Millwall on Saturday, they were piling everything on us. At the start of the season we possibly could have got beat 2-1.
“Going back to the Watford game last year, we were winning 2-0 and got beat.
“But we’re fitter and stronger.
“I think it’s the hardest I’ve ever worked. If you ask any of the lads I think they’d say the same.
“He is one of the toughest managers, but he’s a good manager as results have shown.
“We’ve been doing more fitness work, more defensive work with the forwards attacking us.”
The emphasis under Dyche is on substance as much as style.
“He looks at the horrible side of the game,” added Trippier.
“He’s done a great job since he’s been here and all the lads are willing to do the dirty work.
“We’ve been so much fitter and everyone can see that. We’re willing to press and win together. If we lose, we lose together, but the good thing is that everyone’s putting their bodies on the line, everyone’s doing the ugly bits for each other. It’s not just about the style it’s about substance too.
“When it comes together it can make a big impact.”
It has made for a feelgood factor at Turf Moor too, and Trippier admitted their winning feeling is something they have no wish to surrender easily.
“Everybody’s smiling and happy and confident. We’re all going into the games buzzing,” said the 22-year-old.
“Since the new year we’ve got three wins and three clean sheets.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start and everything we’ve done on the training field is being put into the matches and hopefully we can keep the run going.
“We don’t want to give it up.
“Everyone knew we were letting too many goals in (earlier in the season) and people were making individual errors but now we’re all putting our bodies on the line for the team and for the club and we’re doing really well.”
On a personal level, however, he feels there is still more to come.
“I’m doing well but I’ve still not started yet,” said Trippier, who was crowned the club’s player of the season last year.
“Last year I was flying. I think I’ve got a long way to go yet.
“I’ve still not reached my best.”
But a play-off push has provided the perfect incentive for Trippier and co to stay on top of their game.
“It’s great to be around the play-offs and challenging,” he said.
“It’s something that we aim for and it’s something exciting for us and the fans and hopefully we can keep pushing.”