Sean Dyche is convinced Burnley fans will resist the urge to get “drunk” on the team’s unexpected success during the festive season.
As Dyche prepares his side for their final assignment of 2017, Saturday’s visit to Huddersfield, he can reflect on a sterling year at Turf Moor.
In May the Clarets defied expectations by retaining their Premier League status for the first time and things have only improved since.
After briefly gatecrashing the top four earlier this month they have settled in seventh place, outflanked only by teams with title aspirations and above many with grander budgets.
If there were ever a time to indulge unlikely dreams now is the time but Dyche gets no sense that supporters will head into the new year with outlandish ambitions.
“I don’t think the fans here are too drunk on it all,” said Burnley boss Dyche. “They know there’s a reality to it. We have to work for everything we get.
“From the outside I think the fans are enjoying the ride but I think they’re well aware there’s no gimmes and we have to earn the right in everything we do.”
Burnley’s prospects of chipping away further at the established order could hinge on a battle they cannot hope to win in the transfer market.
Dyche is unlikely to do significant business in January, only adding players if they fit a strict budget, while a Liverpool side with just five more points to their name this season have just shelled out £75million for Virgil van Dijk.
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope came at a more modest fee, netting Charlton around £1.5million when he joined in 2016, but has turned in some pedigree performances since Tom Heaton’s shoulder injury earlier this season.
Regardless of that, Dyche expects the numbers to keep soaring rather than more managers scouring the lower leagues for talent.
“I don’t think it’s long before there’ll be a £100m defender,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a massive surprise to anyone. Maybe in five years that won’t seem such a high price.
“You might see £200m, where are the limits? You might see a £100m goalkeeper.”