Sean Dyche key to Burnley reaching Europe, says Matt Lowton
Lowton backs James Tarkowski to make England's World Cup squad
By David Menon
Last Updated: 10/04/18 2:52pm
Burnley defender Matt Lowton admits Sean Dyche could have moved elsewhere and is delighted the manager stayed at Turf Moor to boost the club's European aspirations.
Dyche took charge in October 2012 with the club 14th in the Championship but following promotion and then relegation from the Premier League in May 2015, Burnley made an instant return and are now on the brink of playing European football next season.
Burnley could go nine points clear of eighth-placed Leicester with victory against the Foxes on Saturday. A seventh-place finish would result in qualification for the Europa League next season unless Southampton win the FA Cup.
Lowton said Dyche's decision to stay at the club has been "huge".
He added: "The chairman stuck with him and it's worked in the long run. I'm sure he had offers to go various places after the job that he's done but he's stuck here and nothing has changed.
"His demeanour day in day out is still - as you can imagine - pinpoint on everything. As I keep saying, it's working and everything is coming together and he's been key in that.
"He's on everything, every single day. Precise to every single point, there's no let-up. Even international breaks, when we don't have a game for 10 days, everything is as it needs to be. Training is bang-on and that's down to the manager."
Lowton also spoke of Dyche's ability to motivate players following a poor run of results. Burnley went 12 games without a win between December 12 and March 3 but have since earned four successive victories.
"When we went on a barren spell, the manager pointed out we've drawn six with some good teams in there," Lowton said. "He likes to make sense of things and try not to get bogged down with outside noise.
"The big thing was to step on again. Let's not rest on being safe and happy where we are. Since the meeting we have done."
Burnley have not played European football since the 1960s and Lowton insisted the players would be prepared for the extra workload next season.
Burnley for Europe?
Will seventh place mean Europe? Burnley, Leicester and Everton battling for Europa League spot
"Europe is a very realistic target," he said. "For the club and the community, it makes people's weekends. The fans must be buzzing.
"We quite enjoy games coming thick and fast, I certainly do. The way we work, the lads are fit enough to handle it so there's no reason why we can't look forward to it."
Lowton also praised his Burnley team-mates who have represented England. Goalkeeper Tom Heaton has won three caps while Nick Pope received a call-up in the latest squad. Furthermore, defender James Tarkowski and Jack Cork made their debuts against Germany and Italy respectively.
The 28-year-old added: "It's good for the England manager. We've got two goalkeepers here who are probably inside the top four or five in England. Corky has been tremendous for us all season and it's fully deserved."
Lowton believes Tarkowski should be considered for Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad.
"I think he should. I see how good he is. When he played [against Italy] he did really well and fit into what the manager wanted, passing out from the back and defending strongly," Lowton added.