STEVEN Defour is enjoying his football and ‘relishing’ being a part of a committed Burnley side, according to Turf boss Sean Dyche.

The Belgium midfielder turned on the style at Old Trafford on Boxing Day to score a stunning 25-yard free-kick past David De Gea.

It was another fine all-round display from Defour who has started every Premier League game this season and has already played 500 minutes more than he did in the whole of the 2016/17 campaign.

Dyche believes the 29-year-old has learnt from his struggles last season, when he failed to complete 90 minutes in the league, and is now thriving.

“I think he’s enjoying his football,” Dyche said of the former Porto and Standard Liege midfielder.

“It’s interesting to see last season people were wondering why I wasn’t playing him, why he wasn’t playing more.

“But it’s my job to know the players and to know what to do with them and he now knows that. At the time he was probably saying ‘why am I not playing more?’.

“It was a learning process for him, even at his age and with his experience, because the Premier League is a different animal to what he’s used to. A lot higher tempo, a lot more physically demanding, particularly in a side that doesn’t always have the ball.

“I think he’s now learnt when to find the moments that count whilst doing the team work he has to do.

“He’s accepted it and is relishing it. I think he’s enjoying playing in a team that everyone is willing to do his bit, and he can still provide the moments of quality when needed like he did.”

Defour admitted earlier in the season that his strong performance on the notorious ‘gaffer’s day’ in pre-season helped convince him he could be a success at Burnley.

Dyche backs that view up and said he pulled him aside after that showing to stress the idea that he could reach the fitness levels required to fit in at Turf Moor.

The Clarets chief added: “The reason why I did that was to reinforce to him ‘look you have go through an incredibly difficult day and when you look at the stats you have produced at the highest level, the Premier League 95 minutes, that is the highest level you are ever going to need. You aren’t going to go beyond those stats. So therefore you can deliver it’.”

Dyche insists he simply underlined Defour’s mindset this summer rather than changing it and he believes the midfielder is now turning in better performances due to his increased fitness levels.

“Using Steven as a example, you can’t play 46 games for your country in the elite period of their history of players and not know you are capable,” he said.

“So I’m not telling him anything he doesn’t know. I am reinforcing the fact how do we move you up physically. You will flourish because you can play. You know the game, you understand the game, and you can play. There’s no two ways about it.

“Now I think the freedom that comes with that is that he can get round the pitch more easily, he is more comfortable, sharper, more energetic and he can handle back-to-back games. That brings clarity of thought to play more freely and in theory you are up an running.”