Burnley boss Sean Dyche says he’s enjoying the challenge of balancing his team’s European and domestic commitments ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Olympiakos.
The Clarets are one round away from qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League having edged out Aberdeen and Istanbul Basakehir in their previous two ties.
Having gone over half a century without European football, the Turf Moor faithful are enjoying the experience of competing on the continent and their road trip takes them to Athens this week.
However, Burnley’s Europa League campaign appears to be taking its toll on Dyche’s small squad, the Lancashire outfit taking one point from their first two Premier League matches.
Given the Thursday-Sunday schedule Burnley now face as Europa League competitors, and having been taken to extra-time in both of the previous rounds, Dyche admits the early part of the season has put his managerial skills to the test.
However, the former Watford boss insists he is relishing trying to cope with a fight on two fronts and admits he expects a response from his team in Greece following Sunday’s 3-1 loss to Watford.
“The main differences [between Premier League and European football] are obvious,” the Burnley manager said.
“There are different styles of course in Europe compared to the Premier League, which is usually a bit quicker. But it’s all part of the rich tapestry of football and we enjoy that side of it.”
“We’ve enjoyed the early part of it [the season]. It’s work, but it’s new and fresh. It’s something exciting for the fans, whilst alongside that realising the main thing is still the Premier League.”
Dyche went on to reveal he has concerns about the pitch at the Karaiskakis Stadium ahead of the first leg of their Europa League play-off tie against Olympiakos.
The Clarets have been told they will need to hold Wednesday’s training session away from the Greek team’s home ground, putting Dyche on high alert.
“I don’t know what’s gone on with the pitch there. I don’t know much about that, other than that we’re not allowed on it the night before, which suggests it’s not in great shape,” he said.