Picture the scene. It’s half-time at Turf Moor and Burnley are losing 2-0. Outplayed for most of the first 45 minutes, manager Sean Dyche has a huge team talk ahead of him to turn things around. Except, this time, he doesn’t know what to say.

“Knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do – that’s football management”, he tells UCFB as part of an exclusive online chat with students. “You’ve got to find a way to do something that is going to bring change or move forward, and you’ve got to find ways of stimulating others because that’s your job.”

Fifteen minutes isn’t a long period of time, even for a coach as experienced at the top level as Dyche. Having led Burnley to the Premier League four years ago, which has led to the club experiencing European football for the first time in over 50 years, it’s refreshing to hear an elite coach being so modest when assessing their own abilities.


YouTube video


Dyche says: “There are moments when you think, ‘I’m at a bit of a loss’, and the players are all looking at me and I’ve got to come up with something.”

He continues: “You’ve got to compute what’s gone on; compute what might happen; compute the mood of the group; compute the first half performance and give them the information for the second half performance in about four minutes.”

Listing the process of half-time, from allowing the players to recuperate to Dyche and his staff assessing what the game plan is going forward, even if he finds himself stuck with what to say, there isn’t much time at all for Dyche to say it.

“You’ve got about four minutes to try and get your point across” he says. “And don’t forget, don’t give the players too much information because they’re in the moment… so it has to be simple and succinct. Then there’s about two minutes for them to get their brain right before they go out. And you’ve got to win the game!”

Emphasising his point, Dyche tells students: “That’s a lot [to digest], trust me, so they’re the moments where it really counts. Knowing what to do when sometimes you don’t.”

Sean Dyche was talking to Mark Clemmit as part of the UCFB Insight Series.