Then he waited for a first win and Since the games ticked by, there should have been times when Michael Duff wondered why he did stay at Burnley.
Duff had to wait till his 10th League Two match accountable for a first win, and arrived in Cheltenham Town last September. Now, only under 12 months after, the club are at the top seven and looking up.
His departure from Turf Moor is looking like a very good decision.
I probably had a job for life at Burnley, Duff, a two-club man who spent his entire acting career in Cheltenham and Burnley before joining the Clarets coaching staff after indulging in 2016, tells Sky Sports. I had an incredible connection with the team and the supervisor and I had access to the very first team, so it wasnt like that I was just with the U23s.
But a great deal of things lined me up. The family needed to come home and the children were to do it. I had two clubs in a career and it felt like the point to go back to where I started. Cheltenham came to me personally although I didnt use for it and that I knew at some point I wanted to stick my head over the parapet and also have a go. I didnt need to get to 50 or 55 and thinkI might have done that. I may find the sack and never get a different job, but I understand that if I fail, Ive had a go at it.
You will find several soul-searching minutes during that bad run of why Id come here, and Ill always be appreciative of how small pressure there was from the club. I understand at other clubs, managers have been sacked in just nine or eight matches when youve come from an U23s background. However, any stress I believed came from within.
Cheltenham had grabbed a couple of cup wins beneath Duff but it was his first victory in the league in mid-November that saw items quickly start to develop together. Their house form, in particular, has been particularly impressive and they are unbeaten in their last 16 games in the Jonny-Rocks Stadium.
Duff came 13 months ago with management principles and his training, but has learned when you are the man at a club, that those objects can change.
I thought I had my own ideas of how I needed to come in and perform, he explained. I wanted to go 4-4-2 and almostBurnley-fy the place, if you prefer, getting them organized and hard to beat.
But then I didnt win a match in my 10 and you realise you need to try out something different. We ended up going the other way, because it suited the players wed enjoying 3-5-2. We and approximately 550-600 play with a very expansive style, normally moves a game, which is a lot in this level.
I thought I would have them more in a manifestation of me, but I am really rather enjoying watching them perform. Although I am not stupid enough to think that in the event you play 500 passes and get beaten every week you are likely to continue to keep your job!
They can play style and a different formation to the Premier League outfit of Sean Dyche, but there are different ways Duff hasBurnley-fied Cheltenham. The defender has trimmed a bloated squad to be certain theyre a inspired unit, all willing to work and fight together.
We had 29 players once I came and then I brought in Luke Varney to ensure it is 30, said Duff. It had been too many and you also cant keep everyone happy. On my first day we did an 11 vs 11 and we had seven players! Just how are you likely to keep them motivated?
Naturally when that occurs, if you like it or not, there will be two or three sad faces and they will be sucking the life from the dressing area. Even if they dont mean to take action, it is going to be with an effect on the people alongside them. It is only a thing that is human.
It was a small danger because we had a few accidents at the start of the year and it abandoned us down to the bare bones, but it just makes it more manageable. How can you maintain players inspired and alive when they could see four players before them? You are asking them to do things but from their point of view there is absolutely no point if they know they are not going to play. With a team that is smaller the players that were not beginning will know they are only a defeat, one injury or somebody losing form away from getting into the group, so that they need to be on it all the time.
It keeps them alive in training and retains the professionalism and criteria better around the area. The teams Ive been part of a participant arrived when there was a fantastic core. Its difficult to do that if you have too many.
Duff worked closely in Burnley for years and its apparent that his former supervisor, both by his time as a player and as a coach, has had a massive effect on his or her
He was brilliant because 10-game run and he rang me over anyone else, said Duff. Ive got a brilliant relationship with him, not just as a participant, where we won two promotions, but then also when I stepped across the other side.
He brought me to his training setup and demanded me in everything. Id half an hour each Saturday with him at his office once the training staff would go out, and I would only pick his brains for nuggets of information, which were invaluable because he is honest and so open. In that run if he can help me whatsoever, he would always call me up and find out, and even today he does.
Our very first home game of the season was at the exact identical time as Burnleys, and I went into my office just after the match and saw a message on my phone , just after theyd conquered Southampton 3-0. It only shows what type of man he is that theyd won their first Premier League game of the season and then he text me straight away to say well done on us beating Scunthorpe. He is a fantastic bloke who is clearly also very good at what he does, and receives it.
There were other individuals too but I have probably spoken to him more than anyone else in the previous 12 months
But can Duff see himself copying a single day handling and Dyches accomplishments at the maximum degree? He climbed from non-league to the top flight, and he expects that he can do something .
I understand Im not going to get Cheltenham to the Premier League, he explained. Ive got my own intentions of everything I need to achieve and where I need to be, but the chief way of doing this is to continue nicely with Cheltenham. Should I do the club will much better, the players and we get more cash and better 20, respectively. It reflects well on everyone, if the players are doing well on the pitch then.
I know Ill never get to where I want to be if the club doesnt keep winning another game. It took until I was 30 as a participant but the aspiration was still there, and anyone who says that they dont want to manage from the Premier League is a liar.
I obviously didnt go shouting it from the rooftops when I had been playing at the Hellenic League because people would have thought I was psychological, but it does not mean its not in you. You only need to keep working and striving and hopefully get a little bit of fortune along the way.