SEAN Dyche believes Burnley have come a 'mile' since the start of this season after the Clarets all but secured their Europa League place at the weekend.

The Clarets were disappointed with the stalemate with Brighton at Turf Moor but Dyche was able to look at the bigger picture and the progress of his side from relegation favourites to European contenders in the space of eight months.

Dyche turned the spotlight on to his players after they wrapped up a top-seven finish, barring a six point and 15 goal swing to Everton over the final two games of the season.

"The players deserve a huge amount of credit, they have to deliver it," he said.

"Really really strong start to the season, that spell of 11 games (without a win), and a lot of stories changed then.

"You write a different steer, a different feel. To come out of that with the wins we got, to get to a point where we're disappointed (on Saturday), a bit lacklustre.

"We've come a mile since the beginning of the season. We’d have taken that at the start, a good draw, another clean sheet, another point.

"The players deserve a huge amount of credit, and continue to do so, because we want to take on the last two games."

Burnley are set for a highest league finish since 1973/74 despite suffering a string of injuries this season, particularly in the early stages of 2018.

Ben Mee has been another absentee recently but again Kevin Long has impressed in his place and Dyche said he won't accept a drop off in performance levels, regardless of changes to the team/

"Each time we've changed the team, I believe in the players that much, I don’t accept we come away from it," he said.

"We were at real stretch after Christmas, we had six big players injured, that’s tough for us, any team, but certainly us with our squad size.

"I thought Kevin Long was outstanding, he continues to mature, looking at all the details, what you need over a season, and they are there, it was just the moments of quality were lacking, and that’s rare for us this season.

"Lots of historical markers over the five and a half years, and again this season, even more difficult to do because you're playing arguably one of the top levels of football. That’s a big jump, from Championship markers, to do it in the Premier League is a whole different level."

Attention now turns to planning for Europe for Dyche and his backroom staff, with friendlies to be moved or scrapped with the Clarets' first European tie set to take place on July 26.

"It comes in at the end of pre-season, we'd probably play against two foreign sides any way," Dyche said.

"Those games would just become more real games, they'd still be factored into the general pre-season plan.

"It will be an earlier start, but not radical, we trust in the players here, they're in good shape, they will come back in good shape. They’ve never let me down.

"We will change the dates, but not weeks and weeks."