Burnley's bargain buys cash in against poor Watford side

Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra (left) challenging Burnley's Steven Defour for the ball during a Premier League match on Monday. Belgium international Defour led his side to a 2-0 victory with two assists.
Watford midfielder Roberto Pereyra (left) challenging Burnley's Steven Defour for the ball during a Premier League match on Monday. Belgium international Defour led his side to a 2-0 victory with two assists.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

LONDON • Sean Dyche, Burnley's alchemist of a manager, continues to build well on a budget.

In the mad, monied world of the Premier League, Dyche's Burnley side collected three points on Monday against Watford, the side who once sacked him, through goals from Jeff Hendrick and Michael Keane.

Hendrick cost the club £10.5 million (S$18.53 million); Keane was brought in for £2 million, while the man of the match, Steven Defour, cost £8 million.

Hendrick scored his first goal for Burnley, a header punishing wretched marking by a Watford side who were so disappointing until late on when Isaac Success and Kenedy arrived to run at Burnley.

Dyche's side were two clear by then after Keane headed in another fine delivery from Defour, the Belgium international.

Keane, who was briefly a Manchester United player, has been watched by England this season, and England's shortage of options at centre-back has seen the Burnley man linked with a first call-up.

Such has been his form this season that Keane has also been linked with a lucrative move to Leicester City.

It required a relentless pursuit and Dyche's powers of persuasion to convince Defour, once coveted by European heavyweights, to leave Anderlecht for Burnley in the close season. But the effort has paid early dividends.

Defour's desire and determination shaped Burnley's 2-0 win, their second Premier League win of the season.

The midfielder still has the letter he received from Alex Ferguson shortly after injury ruined his hopes of Champions League football with Standard Liege and, as it later transpired, a move to Manchester United.

Now 28, he still possesses the ability and energy to punish teams as weak as Watford - unrecognisable from the side who triumphed over United last time out - and a quality Burnley lacked on their last appearance in the Premier League.

The midfielder's assists for Hendrick and Keane means he has been involved in four of his new club's five goals this term.

"He is still learning and adapting to the Premier League but he is definitely a good player, otherwise we wouldn't have brought him here," said Dyche.

"He, Jeff and Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) have all been brought in for a reason.

"We haven't got the budget to bring in players, move them on and have a squad of 30. Every player we have brought in is important.

"Steven has that extra belief from playing for Belgium and in big games. He has a strength of character and that rubs off on others."

Burnley were again solid defensively at Turf Moor, where they have conceded five goals in 17 home matches.

They became the first team this season to shut out Walter Mazzarri's side.

They were also confident and strong in midfield.

"They bullied us," Watford captain Troy Deeney admitted.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Burnley's bargain buys cash in against poor Watford side'. Print Edition | Subscribe