Last Updated: 01/12/18 8:05pm
Burnley are struggling to adjust to different expectations this season and are playing with fear, according to manager Sean Dyche.
After finishing seventh last season, Burnley find themselves in the bottom three after 14 games this time around and the 2-0 defeat at Crystal Palace was their fifth in six Premier League games.
With games against Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal to come before Christmas, Dyche said hard work and a bit of luck are the only things that can improve the club’s situation.
“[Crystal Palace] deserved to win,” he told Sky Sports. “The performance: there was a bit of fear attached to it. The eye of the tiger we had last year – it was a collective unit – has softened quite obviously – and that can happen with tough results.
“There’s a lot of demand on this season, a different kind of demand that is new to the players and new to the club as well.
“I think that that affects the way a group works sometimes, and I think they’ve found a challenge within that. So each game has that bit of trepidation to it and instead of that professional enjoyment that you want from your players, it becomes huff and puff, ‘just get through it’ and that mentality.
“I’ve been through it myself down my career as a player and as a manager as well. To get that eye of the tiger back, it usually – not always – comes from hard work. The reason I say not always is that now and again you get it from a lucky one.
“It’s strange football, you nick a lucky win and all of a sudden it looks different, but you don’t want to rely on them. You want to rely on the good work that the players can do to turn things around.”
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Asked what he felt was the difference between this season and last for his side, Dyche said he and his team had not been “maximising” themselves as individuals or as a collective.
“It’s not just tactical shapes, there are lots of other things: that will, that demand to climb, progress and do well,” he added.
“Sometimes it changes, expectation changes that, outside noise changes that, different things in a footballer’s life can change that and all of a sudden, if you’re different, it can take some adjustment and it’s not an easy adjustment.
“Some players grow with it, other players find that tough and I think we’ve got a mixture. Some have grown a bit and others are finding it tough. So there’s a lot to compute, a lot to make sense of and a lot to change. That’s what we’ll look to do, of course, change and help them change the mentality.”