Sean Dyche believes the prospect of empty stadiums for the foreseeable future could contribute to making this season’s Premier League one of the most unpredictable on record.
Dyche is preparing his Burnley side for Monday’s clash with Tottenham, who come to Turf Moor having blasted six past Manchester United at Old Trafford before blowing a 3-0 lead to West Ham last time out in the top-flight.
And with no imminent prospect of the stands filling back up, Dyche says the unusual series of results so far this season, encapsulated by Jose Mourinho’s men, may be more than mere coincidence.
Dyche said: “I imagine most of the managers are debating the difference now of what looks like being a long spell of having no fans in the stadium and how that has affected things.
“When we came back after the lockdown there was an obvious vibrancy because everyone was desperate to get back, whereas it’s different now, you’re going into a long season which could be in empty stadiums.
“So I think there is an adjustment to that, and I think it is possibly affecting the ups and downs of performances.
“We did very well coming out of lockdown last season despite some real challenges to the group on and off the pitch, and we’ve got to respond in the same way again.”
While most eyes will be on Gareth Bale as he prepares for his first appearance at Turf Moor in a decade, Dyche believes it is still Harry Kane who illustrates everything that is quality about Mourinho’s side.
“They’ve got one of the top players in the country in Harry Kane, who’s showing not only that he can score a goal but make a goal as well,” added Dyche.
“I know it is not about individuals but I think Harry is such a top, top player.
“They’ve got a lot of top players and we’ve got to deal with them. But we have come across them before and we have affected the game and got something from it.”
Dyche, who is marking his eighth anniversary in charge of his club, was still two years away from joining the Clarets the last time Bale made an appearance in an end-of-season tussle at Turf Moor.
While Dyche has gone on to establish a reputation which has seen him frequently linked to bigger clubs, Bale will return having achieved stardom first with Spurs then Real Madrid.
Dyche added: “There were massive question marks over what a player he could be at the start, but there were clear signs of his ability and athleticism at Tottenham.
“He is obviously another very good signing for Tottenham as a club and I think what he has done in the game speaks for itself to be honest.”