A 10-game winless run has done nothing to diminish the positivity at Burnley, according to manager Sean Dyche.
The Clarets’ stunning season has stuttered of late, although they still sit seventh in the Premier League table and have come out the other side of a very tough run of fixtures.
That culminated last week when they held leaders Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.
Dyche said: “One of the great things we have here is a great clarity and a great alignment throughout what we do. The chairman and the board know the challenge of the Premier League, I do, my staff, the players, they’re very honest and open about the challenges, and our fans.
“Our fans have been amazing throughout not winning as many games lately. They’re seeing beyond that. As well, there’s life in a side that’s giving everything and our side certainly gives everything.
“There’s been signs. We haven’t got that win recently but we’ve played some of the top sides, and that’s very, very difficult. We’ve got to go and work and we’ve got to put in performances that can get us what we want.”
Dyche will leave others to talk about reaching the safety mark or the possibility of European football as he concentrates on ensuring Burnley surpass last season’s points tally.
With only five points needed and 12 games still to go, they surely will, with Saturday’s trip to Swansea the next opportunity to move closer to the target.
Dyche said: “Goal number one is improving on last season. We got 40 points last season and we want to go beyond that.
“It’s been more challenging lately because of injuries but when everyone is fit and that competitive element is there then I think we’ve improved on last season, but you have to do the improvement on the league table. That’s where you’re measured so you want to go above and beyond what we did last season.
“Beyond that, we’re open-minded. We have been all season and that’s been effective this year. We’ve got 18 points away from home, 18 at home. That proves there has been a more open-minded approach, particularly away from home, because it was difficult for us last season and we’ve quite obviously changed that.”
A month ago, a trip to the Liberty Stadium would have seemed a golden chance for three points but the Swans have been rejuvenated under Carlos Carvalhal and put eight past Notts County in their FA Cup replay on Tuesday.
“We’ve all seen the bounce that can happen when a new manager comes in,” said Dyche. “They’ve certainly had that.
“It’s a new style, 5-4-1, not keeping the ball, it’s mainly counter-attack. Swansea were a team that were renowned for working in possession and lately they’ve got a different style and it’s been effective. They may change that against us.
“I don’t think the fans will be moaning that the style has changed, I think they’ll be saying that it’s fantastic we’ve got some wins and some points. It’s another big challenge.”
Burnley remain without eight first-team players through injury. Stephen Ward has recovered from a knee problem but Phil Bardsley has been ruled out by a hamstring injury so Matthew Lowton will start.