Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has praised “exceptional” Sean Dyche ahead of his team’s Premier League clash with Burnley.
The two sides meet at Bramall Lane at 3pm on Saturday, with Wilder and Dyche facing each other in opposite dugouts for the first time.
Despite that, their history stretches back almost 30 years to their playing days. Wilder came through the ranks at Bramall Lane and also spent the early part of his career at Rotherham United.
At the same time Dyche was also playing in the same region, spending seven years with Chesterfield.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Sean,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield. “I’ve known him a while, he’s played in these parts so I came across him as a player and obviously followed his managerial career from Watford into Burnley.
“What he’s done has been exceptional, getting into the Europa League. They’re a benchmark for clubs like ourselves who want to stay in the Premier League.
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“I like his team and the way they work together. They’ve got good individuals, they’ve got a plan, they play in a way that’s effective.
“Sean doesn’t get caught up in the hype that surrounds the Premier League and there is a lot. I admire the way he does that.”
Why Chris Wilder is such a big admirer of Sean Dyche
Wilder once again reiterated his belief from before the start of this season that the Clarets are a club his side should be emulating.
They have certainly achieved great things during Dyche’s seven years in charge. Promoted in 2013/14, they spent one year in the top flight before being relegated – but bounced back at the first time of asking by winning the Championship.
This second spell in the Premier League has now entered its fourth season. Their seventh place finish in 2017/18 – that Wilder eluded to when mentioning Europa League qualification – is their best league position since 1973/74.
Forget Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, if there is one manager in the top tier of English football that the Blades chief looks up to, it’s Dyche.