BURNLEY, England (Reuters) – Manchester City’s bid to retain their Premier League title takes them to Burnley on Sunday and Clarets manager Sean Dyche has warned Pep Guardiola’s side not to expect a comfortable path to three points.
Burnley are all but mathematically safe from the threat of relegation that has hung over them for most of this campaign, sitting in 15th place, nine points above 18th placed Cardiff City with just three games remaining.
The Clarets put themselves in that position thanks to a battling 2-2 draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday, a performance which shows Dyche’s team are capable of upsetting a big six team.
The Burnley boss is sure that Guardiola will know his team will face serious resistance at Turf Moor.
“Their approach will be of a serious nature,” Dyche told a news conference on Friday.
“I don’t know Pep Guardiola but I would imagine he’s learned there’s no walk in the park in the Premier League. There’s no naivety, they won’t be coming to Turf Moor expecting a walk in the park and we won’t allow them that.”
Burnley beat Tottenham Hotspur at home in February and drew at Old Trafford against Manchester United at the end of January while last season’s clash with City in East Lancashire ended 1-1.
“We’ve been close with a lot of the big sides,” said Dyche. “They (City) are a top side. You have to be on top of your performance levels. You need the odd bit of luck, you might need a decision but you have to focus on performance.”
Although Burnley are safe, barring a remarkable series of results and a significant shift in goal difference, Dyche says they won’t be relaxing just yet.
But the Burnley manager concedes they have less pressure than City who cannot afford to offer any opportunities for Liverpool, who are just a point behind them ahead of their match at home to Huddersfield Town on Friday.
“They have the demand to win the title, while we have a different one,” he said.
“That can be a weapon – you can’t relax but there’s a tiny bit of freedom because it is about them. We want to win and prove we can at least challenge the elite.
“The top six this season are miles in front. It’s a big challenge and it’s one we look forward to.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Christian Radnedge)