Sean Dyche praised the mentality of his Burnley players after they came from behind to beat Champions League-chasing Leicester 2-1 and haul themselves clear of the relegation zone.
Burnley, who had lost their previous four Premier League games, might have been expected to fold after Harvey Barnes fired a dominant Leicester in front in the 33rd minute but the game changed in a lively second half.
Chris Wood poked Burnley level in the 56th minute before Nick Pope saved a penalty from Jamie Vardy, setting the stage for Ashley Westwood to strike an emphatic winner 11 minutes from time.
“I think if we’ve been deserving of a twist that’s it, and we have been deserving,” Dyche said. “We’ve been punished in the last few weeks so many times.
“We’ve had a tough run of games with the results and a few questions about it, but to handle all that and deliver that performance shows the strength of the group.”
Pope was named man of the match, making a number of saves to deny Barnes, Vardy and James Maddison, with his 68th-minute penalty save proving a turning point.
“He was very good today, not because he had a ridiculous amount to do but when he did, he made the saves,” Dyche said. “Not just the penalty but there were a couple of other big saves as well, just by standing up and being what he is, quick reactions from a big frame.”
The win gives Burnley a five-point cushion above the drop zone and lifts the mood considerably ahead of a trip to face Manchester United on Wednesday.
“I look at mentalities and performances,” Dyche said. “I thought the performance was there. They work on it all week, they’ve been excellent all week and they delivered. To have the mentality to go and deliver against the questions from a few different areas is very good.”
For Leicester it was a second consecutive defeat, both in games where they took the lead. This one cost them the chance to move level with second-placed Manchester City but Brendan Rodgers said he could only be disappointed with the result, not his side’s performance.
“I thought we deserved to win the game, we just didn’t take our chances,” Rodgers said. “That was a mixture of their keeper making some brilliant saves and our finishing.
“I always thought we were a threat in the game, we had that fluency back. The biggest disappointment is the second goal in that their midfielder runs off our midfield and his desire to score was greater than ours which was a huge disappointment.
“You have to have those things right in the Premier League away from home if you are going to get anything. But I thought we were dangerous, slick, with good combinations, but somehow lost.”
Despite two consecutive losses, Leicester remain six points clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and comfortably in the top four going into Wednesday’s game at home to West Ham.
“I don’t lose the fact of where we are and where we sit,” Rodgers said. “We’ve had a few blips but we’ll get our confidence back and get back to the level we know we can play.
“What these players have done in the league until now has been sensational. A few weeks ago we were talking about challenging Liverpool. This is a team and club that is growing all the time so I’m never too disappointed when we lose and never get too carried away when we win.
“Today is disappointing because it’s so easy to see why we lost but now we go away and get the confidence up for a very important game on Wednesday.”