Burnley boss Sean Dyche admits there is “no guarantee” he can keep morale up as his side’s Premier League struggles continue, but is sure nobody at Turf Moor will shy from the challenge.
Burnley walked away from Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea at the foot of the table having taken a solitary point from their first six matches, a concerning run of results compounded by an injury list that has exposed the depth of Dyche’s squad.
Self-belief has never been a concern in the club’s five-year stay in the top flight, during which the Clarets have routinely defied expectations, but Dyche is taking nothing for granted.
“There’s no guarantee to that, but we work hard on that side of things,” he said.
“We want the players to be confident but confidence is a tricky thing and it’s a state of mind as much as anything.
“The reality is we are in a tough situation and we never shy away from the truth. It’s a challenge, all the things going round this club at the moment are a challenge.
“But our job is to try and stay focused on performance. We tried to stay focused (against Chelsea) but they are a very good side.
“Part of you says that’s how it should be with their investment and the quality of players but we’ve competed with these sides before and we’ll have to do it again because we have to play them all.”
Burnley’s hopes of turning the tide would be boosted by the return of captain Ben Mee, with the centre-half missing since June through injury.
He is getting close to a first appearance of the season but given the length of his lay-off, Dyche is treating his return carefully.
“Ben plays a fantastic part for the group and has done for many seasons, but we need him right,” he said.
“I’m never going to throw people in when they’re not ready. We need him as fit as we can, as quick as we can because he’s been a very good player for us.”
For Chelsea, there was no shortage of positives from their trip north, not least a second eye-catching display in a week from Hakim Ziyech.
The Morocco winger scored on his first start for the club in the Champions League win over FC Krasnodar and repeated the trick on his full Premier League debut at Turf Moor, adding an assist for Timo Werner for good measure.
With injury slowing down his integration at the start of the campaign, he is fast becoming accustomed to his role.
“It has been a really good week for me and hopefully we can continue,” he told the club’s official website.
“Life at Chelsea is good, I am where I am supposed to be. I feel good and feel at home. One of the most important things is that you play with confidence and don’t be scared of making mistakes.”