Burnley’s caretaker boss Michael Jackson has admitted Sean Dyche’s sacking on Friday came as a ‘shock’ as the Clarets dispensed with their long-serving manager amid an intense relegation scrap.
Dyche was axed by chairman Alan Pace with Burnley 18th in the Premier League following a loss at Norwich last weekend.
The Clarets are four points from safety with eight matches of the season left to play, with under-23 coach Jackson tasked with preparing the players for Sunday’s trip to West Ham.
Burnley sacked manager Dyche on Friday with the club battling relegation from top-flight
Dyche’s last game in charge at Turf Moor was the 2-0 defeat away to Norwich on Sunday
Burnley are four points adrift of safety with eight Premier League games remaining
He said: ‘I came in for the morning to prepare for the under-23s game and the chairman called me into his office and I was told about it then. I was told this is what’s happening.
‘It all came as a bit of a shock to be honest but it doesn’t surprise me given the way football is. We have been told to prepare the lads for Sunday.
‘It has come as a shock to the players, that’s human nature. They are an experienced group, they’ve come together and now for us it’s about the whole club coming together, all the fans, and just bunkering in and concentrating on what we need to do.’
Praising the outgoing manager’s decade at the club, Jackson said: ‘He has built the club but built a culture, an identity, and that is really difficult to do in football sometimes.
‘The job he has done, you only have to listen to some of the interviews with other managers and his peers, to know what they think of him.
‘It is sad but they should be remembered for what they’ve done for this club. I’m sure the fans will remember that too.’
Michael Jackson, the Burnley under-23 coach, will take over for Sunday’s visit to West Ham
Burnley chairman Alan Pace said it was an ‘incredibly difficult decision’ to sack Dyche
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Jackson ruled out any big changes to Burnley’s style of play during his caretaker spell and urged the team to play to their strengths.
Survival looked a distinct possibility when they beat Brighton and Tottenham in the space of five days in February before picking up a draw at Crystal Palace.
That was followed by four straight defeats but a dramatic comeback win over relegation rivals Everton offered real hope Burnley could stay up.
However, a dismal 2-0 loss to rock bottom Norwich at Carrow Road last Sunday proved the final straw for Dyche, who had been in charge since October 2012, the Premier League’s longest-serving manager.
Jackson added: ‘When I look at it, you only have to look back a few games ago when they had a run of three games – Spurs, Brighton and Palace – when the group put a run together. Then there was the comeback against Everton.
‘There is a lot of good here and it is reminding the group about what we are good at doing, about reminding then what the identity of Burnley is.
‘I don’t think you can go and play with total freedom. For us, it’s about preparing for the game on Sunday and all the focus will be on that. We’re not going to change the style of how we play in one day.
‘The strength is in the group, an experienced group. They pull together and they know how to play the game.
‘We might tinker with some details but there will be no wholesale change of style. We’ll take one half of football at a time.’
Dyche won the Championship title in 2016 before leading Burnley to their highest Premier League finish
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|Bolton Wanderers||Sam Allardyce||226||80||66||80||275||301||35.4||1.35|
Burnley’s run-in includes home matches against Southampton, Wolves, Aston Villa and Newcastle as well as trips to West Ham, Watford, Tottenham and Villa.
The early contenders for the job include Sam Allardyce, Slaven Bilic, Wayne Rooney, Chris Wilder and former Burnley captain Michael Duff, now in charge at Cheltenham Town.
Allardyce emerged as an early favourite due to his reputation as a survival specialist but it is understood that he has reservations about taking the job at Turf Moor.
Dyche, 50, who in September had signed a new deal until 2025, will be paid a year’s compensation on his £75,000-a-week contract.
His No 2 Ian Woan, first-team coach Steve Stone and goalkeeping coach Billy Mercer have also left Turf Moor.
Dyche’s relationship with his employers and players is said to have grown increasingly strained this season, and the owners hope the change of manager will improve the atmosphere around the club.
Dyche’s relationship with the Burnley players had become increasingly strained this season
Sunday West Ham (A)
Thursday Southampton (H)
April 24 Wolves (H)
April 30 Watford (A)
May 7 Aston Villa (H)
May 15 Tottenham (A)
May 19 Aston Villa (A)
May 22 Newcastle (H)
Sportsmail understands that the seeds of discontent were sown as long ago as August 2018 when Dyche’s decision to rest key players for a Europa League tie against Olympiacos in Athens cost Burnley a chance of progressing in the competition.
One source said last night: ‘He lost the players a while ago. A few of them will not be losing much sleep tonight.’
Eyebrows were raised after this month’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Everton when Dyche declared that Frank Lampard’s team ‘don’t know how to win’ despite the inescapable fact that the Toffees were still above them in the table.
It is understood that Dyche’s role has changed in the last 12 months. Pace has not afforded him the same level of control and the manager was not sitting in on board meetings as before.
The owners considered waiting until the summer to sack him but lost patience on Friday.
Pace praised Dyche in a statement released on Friday but added: ‘Results this season have been disappointing and, while this was an incredibly difficult decision, with eight crucial games of the campaign remaining, we feel a change is needed to give the squad the best-possible chance of retaining its Premier League status.
‘The process of replacing Sean has now begun and further announcements will be made to supporters in due course.’