Dyche applauds Hart and backline after Southampton draw

Joe Hart was given the nod ahead of Tom Heaton for Burnley on Sunday and Sean Dyche was impressed with his display.

Burnley's Joe Hart   -  Getty Images

Sean Dyche applauded Joe Hart's performance in Burnley's 0-0 draw at Southampton and explained the former Manchester City man was chosen ahead of Tom Heaton due to the latter's recent fitness woes.

Hart arrived towards the end of the transfer window on a reported £3million deal after Burnley lost both Nick Pope and Heaton to injuries.

Pope's dislocated shoulder looks likely to rule him out for a significant period, while other backup goalkeepers Anders Lindegaard and Adam Legzdins were not deemed sufficient cover.

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Heaton had been suffering from a calf strain in pre-season and was absent for Thursday's Europa League clash with Istanbul Basaksehir.

He was back in the reckoning on Sunday, but Dyche retained faith in Hart and due to Heaton's lack of match sharpness and he went on to produce a solid display.

"Tom has only trained four or five days in the last three weeks, and it was a tough thing to explain to him because of his desire to play," Dyche told reporters after Sunday's stalemate.

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"He is a top goalkeeper, but I didn't think that was enough football and it's a big decision. Joe has done well again today and earned another clean sheet behind a back four who have done well, and Tom has been brilliant for me, so many times over a long period."

"But those decisions are my job and you want that demand. I mentioned before the window that we want people who are battling to play, not those where there are big gaps and some who are more starters than others. You want that real demand and it's there with the keepers, as with the outfield players."

Southampton struggled for long periods at St. Mary's, looking toothless in attack until the latter stages when its desperation took over.

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And, in light of its problems, Southampton manager Mark Hughes is ready to potentially change things, though he was actually happy with the team's performance.

"I am not rigid that I stick one formation or one way of playing. It's always better to have the ability to change," Hughes said.

"If you think one way of playing isn't working you have to have the nous first and foremost to understand what's happening, and make changes that will affect it and turn it your way. It's not as if we don't work on different formations in training. We do."

"The fact we were able to make the changes in the second half is credit to the players because they have football intelligence, are tactically astute and reacted well to the changes we made and that is always a good sign."