Sean Dyche explains his smooth Burnley transition that boosted Clarets in Leeds United battle
Sacked Burnley boss Sean Dyche has detailed the smooth managerial change he helped oversee that might just keep the Clarets in the Premier League at the expense of Leeds United. Dyche, 50, has spoken publicly for the first time to the Second Captains podcast about his dismissal at Turf Moor after nine-and-a-half years at the helm.
The former Watford and Chesterfield defender had helped keep Burnley in the top tier for five seasons, even masterminding a seventh-place finish in 2017/18 and another top-10 campaign two years ago. But he was dismissed on Good Friday five days after a 2-0 loss at Norwich - the club's fifth defeat in six contests - with his successor Mike Jackson, who Dyche had brought in as the Clarets' new Under-23s coach last summer, going on to accumulate 10 points from a possible 12 during his first four game in interim charge.
That improvement has been the biggest reason Leeds have been plunged deep into the relegation mire and, while Dyche disagreed with the timing of his dismissal - just two days before a trip to West Ham - he nevertheless stuck around to ensure the transition from him to Jackson was as easy as possible both for his successor and for the players he was leaving behind. It is unlikely that same scenario panned out at Elland Road after Leeds parted company with Marcelo Bielsa a day after the 4-0 home defeat to Tottenham and then installed Jesse Marsch in the hot seat the following week.
Read more: Marsch issues Leeds United injury update
Speaking to his ex-Millwall team-mate Richie Sadlier on the podcast about the day he was told by Burnley chairman Alan Pace that his reign at Turf Moor was over, Dyche said: "I am not one to collapse in a heap. Over time when I look back there will be an emotional reaction.
"At the moment it is still pretty fresh and real. So I said, 'Is everything going to be looked after sensibly?' 'Yes'.
"'So no problem at all'. I said, 'If it is OK with you, rather than walk straight out of the building, I would like to conduct the morning meeting with the staff and speak to the players.
"He said, 'No problem, absolutely'. So I conducted that meeting, got Michael Jackson and Jenks (academy director Paul Jenkins in) and said join in the meeting.
"This is what we are looking at doing, this is the plan, this is the players we were looking to utilise. It doesn’t mean you have to but I am just giving what we have done, the training plan for the week and what we were going to do."
Dyche did not offer up any excuses, meanwhile, for the perilous position Burnley were in when he parted company with the club, adding: "First thing's first, we didn't win enough games. Your job remains to win enough that is deemed successful and, in Burnley's case, that is staying in the Premier League.
"Yes there is a lot going on, change in ownership, lots of contract situations, injuries and Covid. But the job is win games.
"We have done it before when our back is against the wall. I didn't make excuses then so why should I do it now."
Displaying no bitterness, Dyche will also be willing his old club to beat the drop. Burnley currently lie one place above third-bottom Leeds, but have a vastly superior goal difference and three games left to play, compared to the Whites' two.
The Clarets travel to Champions League hopefuls Tottenham on Sunday for a midday kick-off - two hours before Leeds entertain Brighton in a huge weekend for both clubs. "I get over myself very quickly so I would prefer it if they stayed up this season and built and built and built," Dyche declared.
"Because in 10 years' time, imagine another 10 years of this journey, they will look back and say, ‘Sean Dyche and his lot had a massive say in this period’. That is a real legacy.
"The one thing I know, and it is a strength of mine, is that I can make decisions. So I can't lose respect for someone else who has made a decision because when I make decisions I have to stand by them.
"For me personally, I am not going to cry over that and hope they lose every game. Why would I do that?
"I don't want to see anything other than they crack on and build." Dyche went on to admit that he is unsure in which direction his career will now take him, but that he is ready for the next challenge whenever and wherever that may be.
"I don't feel like I need a break but if a break comes my way I will use it wisely," he pointed out. "You want the right people and the right project but that is not that easy and you often don't know until you are in it anyway.
"I have no problem with working abroad, no problem with geography of the country. I am pretty flexible with my thinking on what can and can't be done on clubs, so I am pretty open minded."