By 90Min
December 31, 2018

Burnley manager Sean Dyche praised goalkeeper Tom Heaton following his inspired display in their 2-0 victory over West Ham on Sunday.

Goals from Chris Wood and teenager Dwight McNeil handed the Clarets a first league win in ten outings, drawing them level on points with Southampton - with Heaton starring on his return.

Deputising for the out of form Joe Hart, the Burnley shot stopper was making his first start of the season and pulled off a fine string of saves, including a superb stop to deny Andy Carroll late on, to see out a vital victory for the Lancashire side.

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Speaking post match via Burnley's official website, Dyche was delighted with the 32-year-old's professionalism, saying: “I had to make a tough decision today because Joe (Hart) has been very good for us on numerous occasions this season, but the facts are the facts.

"We’ve conceded a lot of goals and I’ve looked at changing shape and personnel and eventually, unfortunately, you have to look at the keeper too.

"I must say, great credit to Joe because he was the first one to jump off the bench when Tom made an important save at the end, so there is a great respect and a great professionalism there.

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“Equally, Tom’s professionalism because he hasn’t played for a while, but he keeps himself sharp and he got his payback today.

“I just felt on this occasion it was the right timing and I am pleased for Tom because he is a fantastic lad and a fantastic professional and he proved that today."

Standing resolute, Heaton recorded only the Clarets' third home shut out this campaign in a much improved team performance after their 5-1 thrashing against Everton last time out.

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

The victory left Burnley behind Southampton only on goal difference and Dyche claimed there were signs of his team returning to the kind of form that helped them to a seventh place finish last season.

He added: “I don’t want to be over dramatic because there’s a long way to go, but there were signs of us being us.

“We had a solid, defensive feel and equally we mixed out play and were effective in attack.

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

“I must mention the fans too because they helped massively. They have stood by this team and myself for a long time, through ups and downs and they are really important.

“For all the questions, they are behind the team and that’s going to be really important going forward.

"You could sense the energy before the game and the players responded and it all worked out well in the end."

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