SEAN Dyche praised Burnley’s ‘never-say-die’ spirit in pushing Premier League side Southampton close in the FA Cup.

The Clarets staged two second half fightbacks after twice facing two-goal deficits but fell just short of earning a replay at Turf Moor.

However, Dyche insists they can take confidence from an all-action second period, in which his side scored three goals against top flight opposition.

“The biggest thing for me is the mentality that we’re looking to build, and have built,” said the Burnley boss.

“We were relentless. You never give up in football until the whistle blows.

“Yet again some of the quality of the play, the energy to the play and the bravery in the second half was for all to see, so I’m really pleased with that.

“We have to just keep going no matter because we believe in the team.”

Burnley trailed 2-0 at the break but were level before the hour thanks to Southampton-born strike pair Sam Vokes and Danny Ings.

Soon after Vokes was denied a second by Kelvin Davis Burnley-born Jay Rodriguez restored Saints’ lead, before Adam Lallana doubled it again.

Kevin Long gave hope of another, late fightback with his first Clarets goal, from Junior Stanislas’ corner.

The equaliser eluded them, but Dyche was still proud of his Championship high flyers.

“The freedom to play in the second half was the main thing. It was as good as we’ve been and arguably we deserved to get something from the game, but it doesn’t always happen like that,” added Dyche.

“In the second half we took the shackles off. I told them not to think about the score line but to think about getting the first goal. That was the challenge, and I told them not to be surprised that when you get one goal it all of a sudden changes because that’s what football is like.

“Goals don’t just change the scoreline they actually change the feel of a game and that was evident.

“We looked back to what we’re about – full of energy. In the second half some of our attacking was outstanding. The margins are tight in football and they were again, certainly in the second half.”