Dyche content with a point
Sean Dyche is not overly concerned with the Sky Bet Championship's top two pulling clear of Burnley and hopes his side can instead revel in the "surprise package" tag.
A 0-0 draw with a resolute Brighton side meant the Clarets slipped 11 points behind relentless leaders Leicester, who made it eight straight wins to reaffirm their position at the summit, while QPR's win over Bolton left Dyche's men three points off second.
Burnley, who led the way as recently as mid-December, have now drawn successive home games but Dyche insists that it will be their rivals, rather than them, that could feel the pressure down the season's final stretch.
"That's the nature of the division, we're the surprise package," he said.
"I certainly don't think Leicester are and I certainly don't think QPR are. We are that surprise package and that can be favourable to us. We have got a team, as you saw tonight, who play without that feeling that them other clubs have got because there is that demand on those clubs to get the job done.
"Ours is slightly different - we have our own expectation, of course - but the outside expectation is lesser so on Burnley than them boys who are up there now."
The Clarets hit the woodwork in both halves against the Seagulls, who have conceded just 10 goals in 14 away matches - the fewest in the league.
"I was actually surprised they came so negatively with the 4-5-1, almost a 5-4-1 at times towards the end," Dyche added.
"I think they're a good side and they've got some quality but, in a weird way, that's great respect for ourselves. Teams know we're a good side, particularly at home."
A point did maintain Burnley's unbeaten league streak at Turf Moor, which extends back to March, yet Brighton assistant manager Nathan Jones bristled at Dyche's suggestion his team had set up simply to leave with a share of the spoils.
Indeed the hosts' goalkeeper Tom Heaton made two fine stops to deny Kazenga LuaLua and substitute Andrea Orlandi.
Jones said: "I don't think we were defensive-minded in any way. We never set up to defend and to just get a point. We came here to win the game.
"Credit to them, they put long balls in, put us on the back foot with aerial play so we had to defend well and we defended fantastically well.
"Ironically, we had a great chance at the end to take all three points but, I'm being brutally honest, that would have been slightly harsh on Burnley if we'd have gone away with all three points.
"But, under absolutely no circumstances, did we come here for a point."
One notable absentee from the Brighton squad was midfielder Liam Bridcutt, who has not played since New Year's Day and is understood to be a target for his old manager Gus Poyet at Barclays Premier League side Sunderland.
The Seagulls rejected Bridcutt's transfer request earlier this month as Friday's transfer window deadline looms ever closer.
"Those things will evolve in the next 72 hours," Jones explained.
"We're fantastically proud of our squad and the players we have. Things are ongoing with certain elements in terms of strengthening the squad and trying to hold on to our players."