Dyche: Player welfare ‘off the scale’

Sean Dyche believes player welfare is “off the scale” after Jurgen Klopp accused Burnley of putting players’ safety at risk by blocking the return to five substitutions.

Dyche has previously said that adopting a five-substitute rule in the Premier League would benefit the big clubs and suggests football has to be careful over the direction it takes.

Klopp has been outspoken in calling for substitutions to be increased from the current three per game in the face of fixture congestion caused by the impact of Covid-19.

The Liverpool manager took aim at Burnley this week, saying he was not sure how many of their players are internationals and are resting when “our players play three games”.

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“I keep hearing this term player welfare,” Dyche said as Burnley prepare to end an enforced 18-day break at Manchester United on Thursday.

“I’ve got to be honest, I think the welfare of my players here is absolutely fantastic – the way they are looked after.

“Health and well-being is top of the list and we do that well here. Add to that the challenge of Covid – the players have got information coming out of their ears over the situation – medical support and the Premier League offering them all the testing programme… so it does make me question the idea of player welfare.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche applauds the fans after the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. Picture date: Saturday October 30, 2021.

Dyche accepts that some clubs have a “lot of demands” on them but says there must be “balance to the bigger picture” when discussing the prospect of introducing more substitutions

“The players have to be careful themselves because the welfare is off the scale for me, personally.”

Dyche, who has had run-ins with Klopp in the past, accepts the top clubs have a “lot of demands” on them with league, cup and European commitments but the Clarets boss said that has always been the case for the top Premier League clubs and their star performers.

He said: “I was thinking of people like Frank Lampard, season after season knocking out 60-odd games with England games on top.

“I don’t remember too much about player welfare being spoken about then.

“There has to be a bit of balance to the bigger picture of comments about five subs, three subs, all the rest of it – and just be careful which road we’re going down.”