Burnley’s Europa League qualification wasn’t achieved by accident. After a great season, the Clarets have everything to thrive at the European stage.
Burnley’s success is the consequence of an ongoing project managed by Sean Dyche and supported by the club’s board.
Burnley and the Europa League
Sean Dyche’s Ongoing Project
At the club since 2012, the manager has transformed a group of players into a proper team, creating an intense and very collective playing style.
In today’s football world, keeping a manager and players around for a long period of time is very difficult. Either they will thrive and get poached by bigger clubs or they will perish and get replaced.
The Clarets are an exception to this new world order. Despite their relegation from the Premier League back in 2015, the board kept Dyche in charge and saw him win the Championship title in the following season.
The Lancashire side has been rewarded by their line of work on and off the pitch. After losing some key players over the years, they’ve always managed to replace them.
Burnley’s Transfer Policy
At the end of last season, the Clarets lost Michael Keane and André Gray, two of their best players; something common given their budget and financial flow.
The money from Gray’s and Keane’s sale was used to bring in seven reinforcements in the winter transfer window. Arriving were Jonathan Walters and Phil Bardsley from Stoke City, Jack Cork from Swansea, Adam Legzdins from Birmingham City, Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor from Leeds United and Nakhi Wells from Huddersfield Town.
Burnley lost two good players but managed to add numerous quality players to their squad.
Their transfer policy often gives them the quantity, quality and consistency needed to succeed. Without one or two stars to rely on, the Clarets developed a playing style built on team effort and variety.
The secret behind Burnley’s success is a broad group of players, not too different among themselves but who can replace one another without losing quality.
In goal, Nick Pope stepped in after Tom Heaton’s injury and became one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Pope’s performance this season earned him a World Cup selection for England.
James Tarkowski dominated at the back after Keane’s departure and earned his first England cap this season.
The defensive midfielder Jack Cork featured in all 38 Premier League games this season and provided balance and strength in the middle alongside Jeff Hendrick and Steven Defour.
Chris Wood, Sam Vokes and Ashley Barnes shared the responsibility up front, combining for 23 goals in the League.
Overall, Sean Dyche’s team have been splendid and have the UEL qualification to show for it.
The Clarets are Europa League Ready
Usually, teams like Burnley go into international competitions after a good season with a talented starting XI but without many options on the bench. Even more often, these teams end up losing their key players and go into the competition a lot weaker.
Fortunately, the Clarets won’t suffer from these issues. They already have a broad squad that provides the manager with plenty of good options and are working on contracts extensions.
Earlier this year, Sean Dyche signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2022. Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson also signed new deals and Mee is stalling but will probably stay at the club as well.
In conclusion, the most decisive factor to determine a club’s success at the international level is certainly Burnley’s best asset. While the Premier League is still their main goal, they have everything to succeed at both national and international level.