BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche admits he sees Manchester City as potential champions after watching his side suffer a 3-0 reverse to the unbeaten league leaders on Saturday.

The Clarets saw their unbeaten away start to the season ended at the Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola's men moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Burnley, who had taken eight points from games at Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea prior to the City defeat, are ninth in the standings ahead of Monday night's home clash with Newcastle United.

And Dyche believes City and Guardiola are reaping the rewards of patience following their failed title challenge last season.

The Turf chief said: “They’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.

"The pleasing thing in the bigger picture is the manager here has been given time.

“The people here know they’ve got a fantastic group of players, a fantastic manager and a fantastic club. Therefore they gave that time to develop. That’s important because there’s so many quick moments in football know where managers don’t always get the time.

“The belief in the bigger picture is important in football. He’s been able to bring in some of his own players and it’s paying dividends at the minute.

"They play longer passes now, the keeper can kick it a mile. They leave one a mile up the pitch to back you off and give them more room to play.

“I don’t think they were a million miles away last year, but I didn’t think Man Utd were either. The margins are right. Generally last year Man Utd were affecting the games in so many ways and drawing."

The Clarets have now played five of last season's top seven away from home and will be hoping to build on some encouraging displays in their next block of away fixtures which see trips to Southampton, Bournemouth, Leicester and Brighton before a Boxing Day journey to Manchester United.