Vydra deserves joy but it may be short-lived
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Nobody could wipe the smile of his face. Relief. Making a point. Scorer of the match-winning goal. Matej Vydra was on an insurmountable high and nobody was bringing him down. The Czech international downed Southampton with his first goal in over a year for the Clarets and it was a reminder of his obvious ability. 


His goal at the weekend was a brilliant finish by the forgotten forward. Bringing down Jeff Hendrick's floated pass, the former Derby County man shimmied past two Saints defenders before smashing a drive past Alex McCarthy. Danny Ings had lit up St Mary's with a stunning goal in the first half but Vydra's finish was a level above that. Had Lionel Messi scored this, the punters would be eulogising about it for weeks. 

Vydra is a very good player. Technically, he could be Burnley's best striker. The problem is that Sean Dyche isn't interested in his striker's technical qualities. He wants hard-men: players who will get physical with defenders and win aerial duels. Vydra is a square peg in a round hole. He is a diminutive forward who thrives when the ball is on the deck. That is at odds with how Burnley look to play. 

Failed plans

Dyche has tried to exile Vydra. The Burnley manager knows that his style is not compatible with the player. When Burnley signed Vydra, they began the season in contemplative mood. The prospect of making the Europa League beckoned and Dyche seemed open to playing a more attractive brand of football. Vydra, as a number-ten, would offer the Clarets a different attacking facet. Sadly, nothing about the start of the 2018-19 season really went according to plan.

The club failed to qualify for Europe but, more worryingly, performances just fell flat and they became easy to play against. Dyche turned this form around by reverting back to basics, bringing leaders back into the team and throwing Dwight McNeil into the thick of the action.

When times were tough, Dyche clearly felt that Vydra wasn't the answer. In the manager's mind, the player was a reminder of a failed transitional project. 


But here he is. Back from the dead! A series of unfortunate events and Vydra got the chance that he never thought he'd get. He certainly took that chance. Now Dyche has a dilemma.

There will rightly be a clamber for the 27-year-old to make his first Premier League start of the season. The Burnley manager was prickly when asked about Vydra's warm reaction after coming on against Peterborough United in the FA Cup.

"The fans went crazy. He must have got 20 goals last season because the fans went mad," Dyche told Lancs Live. It was a quote that seemed to take a playful swipe at the Turf Moor faithful. No doubt Dyche had a wry smile at the fact that Vydra was the match-winner. 

Everyone seems to be delighted for Vydra. His team-mates were clearly ecstatic. The Burnley fans were buzzing. He's had a tough time of it and he's responded in the best possible way. Still, whether this will be anymore than a fleeting moment of happiness remains to be clear.

With Ashley Barnes approaching full-fitness, Vydra will know that his best chance of regular football lies away from East Lancashire.