Sean Dyche admits the Premier League will always be top priority, despite admitting his relief that he can finally offer Burnley fans an authentic ‘European’ trip after seeing off Aberdeen.
The Clarets needed extra-time to beat Aberdeen in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying tie, Turf Moor’s first taste of continental competition in 51 years.
The Dons were probably not the kind of side fans hoped for when they sealed their place in the competition, but they were worthy opponents, drawing 1-1 at Pittodrie and only succumbing 3-1 in the return leg after extra-time goals from Jack Cork and Ashley Barnes.
Prior to that they had provided the game’s defining moment, teenager Lewis Ferguson cancelling out Chris Wood’s opener with a sublime bicycle kick.
Burnley head to Turkey next week and a meeting with Istanbul Basaksehir.
“Our fans literally just wanted to get into Europe so they could have a European tour! I’m pleased we achieved that for them,” he said.
“It’s on my CV too, a win in Europe, whatever way you look at it.”
Dyche’s mind is most keenly focused on matters closer to home though. Wood was taken off at half-time after complaining of a sore thigh and hip and there were worries over Aaron Lennon and Stephen Ward before the end too.
With the Premier League opener against Southampton following three days after the Turkish trip, he is already beginning to feel his resources stretching.
“We’ve got to be careful, tonight was weird because we’re drawing and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve still got a Premier League campaign coming’,” said Dyche.
“It’s tough because we wanted to win, but I can’t lose my players. Whatever happens this is still not as important as the Premier League and I’ve made that clear to everyone.
“As soon as I found out Woody (was struggling) he’s got to come off. Aaron had a tight hamstring and he almost ran back for one, so I’m shouting not to. The bigger picture still has to be there.”
Dyche has a few days now to hatch a plan for his next assignment – with preparation and pronunciation on the agenda.
“I can’t even say the name yet, but we’ve had people sussing things out, we’ll be all right,” he said of Basaksehir.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes was upbeat in defeat, buoyed by the manner of his side’s performance over two legs.
The financial might of the teams may be considerably different, but there was no deficit in heart or commitment to the cause.
“My first thought is disappointment for my players, but there’s no criticism,” he said.
“We can’t afford to be too disappointed because we now have to focus on the domestic game and Rangers on Sunday.
“We were very good over two ties to go toe to toe with a team like Burnley. We’ll dust ourselves down and take the positives and there’s plenty of them.
“There was nothing in the game for me. We knew a second goal would have finished them, but we never got the goal and they did.”