Sean Dyche has dismissed claims that Burnley are taking on misfiring Manchester United at the perfect time.
United have scored only four goals in as many games under interim manager Ralf Rangnick, and the Red Devils’ performance in Monday’s 1-1 draw at lowly Newcastle was lambasted by fans and pundits alike.
Edinson Cavani’s equaliser salvaged a point on Tyneside and Rangnick later defended the body language of his players after former United defender Gary Neville branded them “a bunch of whinge-bags”.
“They’ve had a couple of challenging games where they haven’t maybe looked like what we’d expect from a Man U side,” Dyche said ahead of the Clarets’ trip to Old Trafford on Thursday.
“But within that they still find key moments and have still got some very high-level players.
“They have found ways of making moments that count even though they are not purring.
“We wouldn’t be naive enough to turn up and think there is a perfect time to play them.
“We know it’s still tough to go to Old Trafford and we need everything on our side to be ready to play. But we will be ready to play.”
Burnley have done well at Old Trafford in recent seasons, losing there in April but winning one and drawing three of their four visits before that.
Dyche said: “We’ve been there when they’ve been flying, when there have been question marks.
“We’ve taken on the challenge, gone there with the right mentality and that’s key. We have delivered, the performance levels have been good.
“When you play the top sides – and they are still a top side – they maybe need to have a softer performance and you have a strong one.
“I saw them play against Newcastle and a lot was made by pundits about the performance, but they still find some really important moments and you’ve got to bear that in mind.”
United captain Harry Maguire complained after the Newcastle game that their 16-day coronavirus-enforced break had done them no favours.
Burnley themselves have not played since December 12 after games against Watford, Aston Villa and Everton were called off due to Covid-19 cases among the opposition.
The break has left the Clarets with four games in hand on some of their relegation rivals and Dyche unsure what effect it will have on his players.
“We’ll see. Hopefully it’s not too big a concern,” Dyche said on what will be an 18-day break from Premier League action.
“Of course we’d liked to have had the games come our way. I think it’s helpful to keep playing as the season progresses.
“We’ve done in-house work the best we can. We couldn’t really get a reserve fixture, but we’ve made sure we’ve used the time wisely.
“We’ve done what we think we can to be in good shape.”