The Athletic’s Andy Jones on Sean Dyche, Burnley’s hopes of Europe and Nick Pope’s international ambitions

Sean Dyche mural - flickr, Paul Wright

There’s no reason why Burnley can’t qualify for Europe this season, according to The Athletic’s Andy Jones.

The Clarets are up to 10th in the Premier League table after winning four of their last five games.

And following Manchester City’s Champions League ban, a top-eight finish could be enough to secure Europa League football.

The Turf Moor side are just three points behind Tottenham, who sit in sixth.

“They’ve put themselves in a really good position,” said Jones, Burnley FC correspondent at the newly-launched sports website.

“They’ve got quite a few winnable games left and with the way they’re playing, they’ll go into every game believing they can win.

“Obviously Dyche and the players won’t be getting ahead of themselves.

“They will continue to take each game as it comes and see where they end up.”

Burnley appeared to be slipping into a relegation fight just a few weeks ago, losing four league matches in a row.

It’s not the first time Sean Dyche has turned things around at Turf Moor, and Jones praised the Burnley boss for what he has achieved.

“He does a brilliant job, he gets the best out of his players and they’re constantly punching above their weight.

“He puts the team together that gets the best out of each individual and allows them to flourish.

“Even if they are going through sticky patches he always keeps the belief within the side that they can turn it around.”

Nick Pope has been one of the Clarets’ standout performers this season, keeping 10 clean sheets in the Premier League.

And Jones insists the goalkeeper should be a candidate for the England No 1 shirt at the European Championships this summer.

“He’s shown this season that he’s in great form, he was excellent in the first half against Bournemouth especially.

“He’s such a presence – he’s a great shot-stopper and he commands his area so well.

“His kicking is probably the biggest question mark.

“You look at Jordan Pickford, who’s the England No 1 now, kicking is probably his best attribute in terms of playing out from the back.

“And with Burnley’s style Pope doesn’t necessarily get to do that.”