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Palace problems indicate Premier League's strength, says Burnley boss Dyche

Palace problems indicate Premier League's strength, says Burnley boss Dyche
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Burnley and Crystal Palace are winless in 14 games between them.

Sean Dyche believes Crystal Palace's struggles indicate how tough the Premier League is this season.

Burnley travel to Selhurst Park on Saturday for a meeting of two out-of-form sides, who both sit just outside the relegation zone but only one point ahead of bottom-of-the-table Fulham.

Burnley's 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle on Monday made it six games without a victory while Palace have drawn two and lost six since beating West Brom in the Carabao Cup in September.

Dyche said: "I have maximum respect for (manager) Roy (Hodgson) and (assistant) Ray (Lewington). I played under Ray and think so much of him, and Roy I've come to know over the years. They certainly know what they're doing.

"They've got a team with some talent, they've got a team that can win games and yet I think that's the measure of the Premier League and how tough it is. Palace haven't found that win, we haven't found that win.

"I have the experience of these type of runs and the one thing I know is that good work on the training pitch and good belief systems will enhance your chances of winning. So that's what we look to do and I'm sure Roy and Ray will be doing their version of that with their players."

Burnley looked to have got themselves back on track after a sticky start with back-to-back wins over Bournemouth and Cardiff but they have lost four of their last five games, with Monday's setback against Newcastle the latest disappointment.

Defensive frailty has been an unexpected weakness for Burnley and Dyche must decide whether to throw James Tarkowski back in three weeks after hernia surgery, while summer signing Ben Gibson is finally fully fit three months after first experiencing hernia problems of his own.

One man who will surely go straight back into the starting line-up is Icelandic winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson, who missed the Newcastle match through illness after recovering from a calf problem.

Dyche remains optimistic about his side's development, saying: "The key for me is to get back to a performance level that can win games. I think we've had a spell when some of our performances weren't good enough but we're coming out of that.

"It would be nice to have a bit of the rub of the green because, for all your planning, a deflected goal goes in and that's a tough one to take. We created quality chances, so I was pleased with that, but of course there's more to come. We're in a results business, we all know that, so by hook or crook you have to find a way."

Burnley's injury problems are easing, with only Stephen Ward and Nick Pope currently sidelined.

Winger Robbie Brady is a month into his comeback from a serious knee injury and is still some way short of the form that played an important role in Burnley's flying start to last season.

"I think it takes time for players," said Dyche.

"Approximately a year is a long time to be out but he's going really well. We know he's got quality, we know he can adapt, we know he can affect games and add to what we do."

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