Sean Dyche believes the Clarets are better equipped to stand up to the run-away Premier League leaders than they were the last time they met. And the Burnley boss insists his side will not be daunted by Chelsea’s reputation when they come to a sold-out Turf Moor on Sunday.
The Clarets were no match for Antonio Conte’s side when they were beaten 3-0 at Stamford Bridge at the end of August as the Blues racked up a fourth straight win under the former Italy national-team boss.
But Dyche feels his side has grown as a top-flight side since that day in London as they look to stun the title favourites and make it six successive home Premier League wins.
He said: “They played miles better than us on the day and fully deserved the victory.
“I think we have morphed into a stronger unit now.
“There are no guarantees about playing teams like this but, beyond this result, I think we’re a stronger unit and I think we’ve got a bit more experience and a bit more knowledge about what the league’s about.
“That doesn’t guarantee you a result against, yet again, one of the super-powers of the division, but I think it gives you a better chance.
“I think every game in the Premier League is a test. It’s fair to say these are so strong at the moment, it’s probably the biggest challenge we’ve had in that sense.
“They are top of the league for a reason, and that many points clear. But every game is a challenge. We can’t under-estimate anyone and we don’t.”
Chelsea are on a remarkable run under Conte as they look to regain the title they last won in 2014/15.
Since losing to Arsenal in September and switching to a 3-4-3 line-up, they have been beaten just once in the Premier League and won 16 of their 28 games to leave the chasing pack in their wake with a nine-point lead at the top of the table.
But Dyche insists he will not change Burnley’s approach as they look to secure a remarkable 10th home league win of the campaign.
“They are having a fine season. A change in system seems to have been the catalyst for them to deliver some very strong performances and results,” added the Clarets’ manager.
“We are under no illusion about what a good side they are. But we have played good sides here before and been away and played good sides, and we’ve been in more or less every game.
Burnley have won five top-flight home games in a row for the first time since 1966
“There have been a couple of blips along our season so far, but more or less every game, particularly at home, of course, so we look forward to taking on the challenge, a big one as it may be.
“I, and my staff, do make the players aware of some of the detail within the opposition but equally, respect is before and after the game.
“When the whistle blows there is no respect in the opposition. It’s about us and it’s about us delivering a performance and us gripping the game and going to win.
“That’s what we attempt to do, not always easy, as we’ve seen away from home this year, but that’s our approach to games.
“I don’t think that’s changed for any given team or any given moment. We have had that format and that mentality towards games for a long time now.
“I think it’s looked after us. We have to nurture it, believe in it and deliver it, but it’s gone well so far.”