SEAN Dyche has called for Burnley to match the derby day mentality in every performance, starting tomorrow against his old club Nottingham Forest.
The Clarets go to the City Ground hoping to build on a three-game unbeaten run and push themselves into the top 10 in the run-up to Christmas.
Dyche believes his players lived up to the big game billing on Sunday, and have been boosted by bossing Blackburn Rovers for a full first half.
Although there was disappointment that they could not turn early chances into goals, and in the end had to rely on Sam Vokes’ late equaliser to earn a point against their rivals, the Burnley boss has highlighted the importance of at least matching the performance levels that had one of the Championship’s heavyweights on the back foot.
And Dyche believes they can be successful by treating every game the same from now on.
“It should be a pre-requisite, but there is an obvious emotion to the derby with the build-up and every-thing, so it does probably change slightly,” he said.
“What we’re trying to get to is that pathway to why it changes, because we want maximum output all of the time.
“I speak to the players a lot about it.
“Every game’s a big game in the Championship in my opinion and you want that mentality that every game is treated as a big game.
“The players have been good.
“There’s still more to come.
“There are still demands put on them on a daily basis, but the culture that we’ve set is starting to become a bit more of a natural thing.”
And Dyche believes preparation is vital.
“That’s why I demand a mentality in training because training really is a rehearsal for what you’re going to perform on a matchday,” he said.
“If you look at anyone rehearsing - if you go to the theatre they rehearse properly so that when the night comes they’re ready to deliver.
“That way if it’s not going your way you can go back to what you know because it’s built into you.
“We believe in what we do here, then it goes onto the football pitch and that’s the journey that we’re on to try to make sure that every game’s a big game and they’re always ready for that next game.
“It’s easier said than done, but that’s the pathway we’re talking about.”
Despite the positives from Sunday, however, a well-earned point came at a price with Ben Mee ruled out for several weeks after suffering a medial knee ligament tear.
“It was an unfortunate one. It happened earlier in the game and he managed to dig in and brave it through the game last Sunday and came through that,” Dyche explained.
“We didn’t know what the problem would be.
“On reflection he’s been brave but it’s probably added to a little bit of time out. But you can never tell that.
“It’s a big game, big atmosphere, the endorphins kick in and you get through it. It’s only afterwards sometimes when you really feel it and afterwards he did.
“It’s one of those things.
“It’s just a case of progressive treatment and getting him back as quick as we can on the road to recovery.”
Danny Lafferty came in for Mee when he was ruled out for two games with a foot injury last month, but with Joseph Mills also a natural replacement at left back Dyche is pleased to have options, in all positions.
“They’re all in the hat. We’re still quite early in our time here seven games in,” he said.
“Everyone’s in the hat on a weekly basis.
“We judge them on their performance in games of course but also in training.
“We’ll make a decision accordingly.”