SEAN Dyche admitted it would be a “tough ask” for Burnley to achieve a top six finish following defeat to Brighton, but believes his players are performing well enough to stay in the hunt.
Their winless run stretched to five games after David Lopez’s first-half strike settled it for the Seagulls at the AMEX Community Stadium, leaving the Clarets eight points and six places outside of the play-off positions.
But, despite a run of three defeats and two draws from the last five, Dyche is adamant their luck will turn and hopes the Clarets can sneak under the radar into the play-offs.
“It’s a tough ask,” said the Burnley boss. “The good thing is we’re in that freedom role now because people wonder ‘can they do it?’.
“Sometimes that’s your best weapon because the shackles come off again.
“Four or five games ago people were saying ‘hang on a minute, they’re right in there’ and maybe that surprised a few.
“Maybe that bit of freedom that comes with where we are now, maybe that will give us a freer way of playing.
“There are clear signs of positive times to come if we maintain and opening up the chances – it's fair to say we had a wobble for five minutes in the first half when the game could have got away from us. We conceded a soft goal and they had one that fizzed across the goal. Other than that I thought we were very good. I thought we were decent as well on Tuesday (against Middlesbrough).
“I said to the players, there's future in those performances to get us back on the winning trail. It's important that we go again and keep that consistency and that level of performance.”
But after slipping from seventh to 12th in five weeks, Dyche knows the size of the task if they are to climb back up.
“It's a tough ask,” said the Burnley boss, who hopes his side can slip under the radar in the run-in.
“The good thing is we're in that freedom role now because people wonder 'can they do it?'.
“Sometimes that's your best weapon because the shackles come off again.
“Four or five games ago people were saying 'hang on a minute, they're right in there' and maybe that surprised a few.
“Maybe that bit of freedom that comes with where we are now, maybe that will give us a freer way of playing. They certainly showed it (on Saturday).
“There are clear signs of positive times to come if we maintain and build on those last two performances.”
Dyche added: “We've come out of winning four out of five and then had two draws in five.
“That's sometimes just the madness of the division.
“Leicester have just lost three, which is an amazing one when you look at their recent run. These (Brighton) go down to Cardiff, win 2-0 against the statistical odds – it's just one of those divisions.
“The main thing is consistency, and you do need the rub of the green now and again.
“Our last two performances have deserved more. Maybe we'll have two where you don't deserve anything and you get something.
“The main thing is, perform well, keep performing well and over time that will generate results.”