SEAN Dyche believes mental strength could prove to be the decisive factor in Burnley’s bid to make the Championship play-offs this season.
The Clarets sit seventh in the table after Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Peterborough United and, although not totally happy with the result, Dyche praised the way his players dug deep to claim a late equaliser at London Road.
The Burnley boss has been pleased with recent form, which has produced 13 points from the last seven games, and has attempted to develop a more resilient side with a stronger defensive base since taking over in November.
And, with the Clarets now within four points of the play-off places, Dyche thinks a continued improvement in the side’s steel and determination to never give in will be a key factor in the final months of the season.
Such mental qualities have played a significant part in the success of other clubs this season, most notably leaders Cardiff.
Dyche said: “I said to the lads after Saturday’s game that it’s important that mentality to keep going is there, because that’s what that side of the Championship is about.
“We are pushing and we are getting stronger. That’s the kind of work in progress side of things, we’ve shown signs of it.
“We had four out of five wins and a referee’s decision which was rescinded which affected last week (the home loss to Birmingham).
“There are 16 games to go, we are four points just outside of the play-offs and in good shape but we want more.
“We’re hungry and greedy to get more wins and see where it takes us.
“It was a real positive on Saturday to have that belief to keep going and keep going.
“It’s been on show since I’ve been here and it’s improving.”
Middlesbrough’s surprising 4-0 loss at Ipswich at the weekend meant Burnley actually closed the gap on the top six, despite not being able to win themselves.
Dyche, whose side travel to Bolton on Saturday, knows victories will be the order of the day if the Clarets are to bag a play-off place.
But he admits he is not sure at this stage quite how many wins will be needed from the remaining 16 games.
“Goodness knows,” he said.
“Statisticians will be all over it and tell me factually.
“It’s the oldest one in the book but it really is true and most managers will tell you, you plan for each game as it comes because each game is another big game.
“Top, middle or bottom of the league, everyone has something to play for.
“We’re in a good position, we’re pushing forward and that’s what we want to do.”
Clarets winger Dane Richards, who did not make the 18-man squad for the Peterborough game, will be on international duty on Wednesday as Jamaica travel to Mexico for a World Cup qualifier.
Sam Vokes is in the Wales squad for a home friendly against Austria, while Danny Lafferty travels with the Northern Ireland squad for a friendly in Malta.