SEAN Dyche believes Dwight McNeil’s role in Burnley’s upturn in fortunes is one that cannot be ignored.

The teenage winger came into the side against West Ham in December and his inclusion has coincided with a seven-game unbeaten Premier League run.

The latest in a series of impressive results was a 3-1 victory at Brighton last time out with McNeil playing his part with an assist for Chris Wood’s second.

And Dyche, who has plenty of faith in the 19-year-old, has been delighted with the way the former Manchester United youngster has adapted to life at the highest level.

“He’s been fantastic - 19 years old running around the Premier League enjoying his football,” said the Clarets chief of the wideman.

“He got another assist (at Brighton). He’s a young man with a bright future as long as he keeps working hard, which I believe he will. He’s got a good group that will look after him. “Dwight’s new to the Premier League; 19, that’s a big thing. You don’t have many 19-year-olds rolling around the Premier League and not many in the fight scene.

“He’s handling himself very well.”

The victory at the Amex Stadium moved Burnley into 15th place but they remain just three points clear of the relegation zone.

The Clarets had a slow start to the campaign, with Europa League football meaning an early return to competitive action, but they have shown signs of the form that carried them to a seventh place finish in recent weeks and Dyche is hoping that trend continues.

“I don’t want to wait until now, I want to get it done at the beginning,” he said.

“Every part of the season is the business end and every win is important.”

The Burnley boss is bracing himself for a nervous few months when the Premier League returns to action next weekend, with the Clarets welcoming Spurs to Turf Moor.

“That’s the way it goes,” he added. “We’ve had to fight for everything we’ve got and we’ll continue to do so.

“Last year was different, everyone knows that. Historically there’s fighting to stay in the Premier League or get out of the Championship.

“They (the Burnley players) have got a strong jaw and I think that’s coming back to how we play with the energy and belief. The honesty of the group I admire, the work ethic in training and in games. The team will give everything to try and win, we’re back to that.

“It needs safeguarding - it can’t be taken for granted, it’s the Premier League, it’s tough.

“We’ve had a great run and we’ve got to continue it. The only way we can do that is to perform with that mentality with all of the things I’ve just spoken about.”