SEAN Dyche once again expressed his frustrations as he was forced to name a depleted squad for last night’s trip to Manchester City that did not include any of the five players whose contracts are nearing an end.

Jeff Hendrick, Phil Bardsley, Aaron Lennon and keepers Joe Hart and Adam Legzdins were all absent at the Etihad Stadium while Robbie Brady joined Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson on the injury list.

It meant Josh Brownhill made his full Premier League debut at the home of the champions while Dyche named just seven of the nine allowed substitutes - including two goalkeepers, with Lukas Jensen joining Bailey Peacock-Farrell on the bench. Under-23s defender Bobby Thomas and second year scholar Max Thompson were also among the replacements.

Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vidra, the only fit senior strikers, led the line for Burnley.

Having already revealed his feelings about the club’s handling of its out-of-contract players, the Clarets boss admitted ahead of kick off that the five players opted not to play.

“We have some things going on which is hard to put together with contracts and stuff like that so were are a bit skinny on numbers,” Dyche told Sky Sports.

“It is a strange situation with contracts, the chairman advised what we should do and there has been a long delay in getting things done.

“The players therefore who haven’t been offered things have made the decision to not finish their contracts as such, even if it is just for the next 10 days. It has been tough, tough on the group, a tough on the situation for us.”

When asked if they would play for the club again, Dyche added: “Well not at this moment, we will see. I am trying to get the situation sorted out but it’s not easy.”

The Burnley boss said he would like to see the out-of-contract players sign short term deals until the end of the campaign but he does not deal with contracts.

“It’s not ideal but it is part of management, it is one of them things,” he said. “We still have a great group here who give us everything so I am really focussing on that at the moment.”

It was always going to be a tough task for the Clarets who have a dismal recent record against City - losing eight and drawing one of their last nine encounters - and were twice beaten 5-0 in the league and FA Cup last season.

And history repeated itself as City once again hit five with Phil Foden and Rihad Mahrez both scoring twice while David Silva was also on target.

Burnley, the last of the Premier League sides to take part in Project Restart, did well to keep City at bay in the opening 20 minutes but the champions opened the scoring soon after when a well-worked short corner routine saw Phil Foden fire City ahead with a superb low strike from the edge of the area, beating the despairing dive of Nick Pope in the Clarets goal.

Following the now customary drinks break, Burnley upped the tempo and Charlie Taylor and Dwight McNeil linked up well down the left but the young winger delayed his cross with Rodriguez waiting and Nicolas Otamendi cleared the danger.

Just before the break, City doubled their lead when Rihad Mahrez turned Charlie Taylor inside out before firing across Pope.

A third goal arrived in first half stoppage time when City were awarded a penalty via VAR after Ben Mee was adjudged to have fouled Sergio Aguero and Mahrez stepped up to slot home his second of the game.

The second half was all about damage limitation for Burnley but the Silvas combined for City’s fourth soon after the restart, Bernardo crossing for David to make it 4-0.

Matej Vydra took the ball off the toes of Otamendi and was brought down by Cancelo - which earned him a yellow card - but from the resulting free kick, McNeil fired over.

City then made it 5-0 in their next attack, Foden supplying the finishing touch to Gabriel Jesus’ sliced effort for his second of the night.

While it was a night to forget for the Clarets, young Thompson at least had something to remember as he was given his Burnley debut in the closing stages.

MAN CITY: Ederson, Cancelo, Fernandinho (Laporte 61), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Silva, Rodri, Foden (Sane 79), Bernardo, Aguero (Jesus 45+2), Mahrez (De Bruyne 61).

CLARETS: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Charlie Taylor, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Erik Pieters 60), Matej Vydra (Max Thompson 87).

Subs: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Bobby Thomas, Lukas Jensen