With Charlie Austin set to return from injury and play for Southampton against his former club this weekend, Sean Dyche has admitted the sale of his former prize asset was a critical moment in the development of Burnley under his stewardship.
"We've moved on and moved forwards"
Dyche suggested, "we’ve had to move this club forwards in many different ways and selling Charlie was a watershed moment when everyone thought, 'OK, here’s a bit of reality' because we’ve just sold the main man at that time."
Austin moved to QPR four years ago and Dyche added, "he did a lot of good stuff for us and he’s a great lad and a top player, who we wish well. But he went on and has played a number of Premier League games and we’ve moved on and moved forwards. That’s how this club has changed with the times."
The Burnley manager claimed the successes that followed are now expected at Turf Moor. “We have built the expectation from then, but the point is it’s built on reality, not conjecture and opinion. The club has been forming and moving forward and building off and on the pitch. Any rising expectation, either internally, or externally, is, I think, therefore on a reality basis.”
"We don't take anything for granted"
Dyche admitted that Burnley's impressive start to the season has "probably exceeded many outsiders' opinions".
He added, “being seventh is a good start, but we still know there’s a balance to it and we know the challenge of the Premier League is very difficult and we don’t take anything for granted."
Yet Dyche claimed the focus remains the same as it has done throughout his five years at the club. "Our expectations always have that reality to it, which is about concentrating on the next game simplifying everything."
Burnley will be looking for another three points against Austin's Saints on Saturday afternoon. However, the striker has netted four times in four matches against his former club, picking up one red card in the process.