Pope: We Need The Fans Back
Clarets keeper admits absence of supporters hasn't helped home run
Nick Pope is looking forward to the return of fans to Turf Moor as the Clarets continue to find home advantage elusive.
A 2-1 defeat to West Ham means Burnley are without a victory in eight home games – equalling their longest winless home run as a top-flight club.
And Nick Pope believes the absence of supporters may be a contributing factor as the Hammers became the seventh side to leave with maximum points this season.
“We do miss them,” said the Clarets’ goalkeeper.
“It can be a bit of an intimidating place to come.
“I’ve been told that by a lot of different people, when I meet up with England or people who come to games.
“They (the fans) make it really difficult for other teams. That’s a percentage of it, although it’s the same for everyone.
“We’ve done better on the road – which is a positive – and something we’ll look to put right in the last two games.
“I think it does benefit some teams playing in front of no crowds and I think it knocks some teams back.
“It’s been like that all season so it’s no excuse. We have put good points on the board and done really well and it’s something that hopefully by next season will be back to its old self.”
The Clarets - who have drawn five of the eight games since their last home success at the end of January - still have to face Leeds United and Liverpool at Turf Moor, with the visit of the Merseysiders in the final week of the season set to see a limited number of spectators back in the ground.
But before that, Sean Dyche’s men go to Fulham next Monday night knowing that a win would take them 12 points clear of the Cottagers and guarantee top-flight safety.
“It would be nice. Every game at this time of year is a big game. We’ve got a week to prepare and do everything right and another good performance down there would see us well,” added Pope.
“From where we were we’re pleased but I think there’s still work to do. Whether we’re safe or not, we really want to push ourselves to the end and look at the last 30 games of the season as a real positive for what we can achieve in the league.
“There’s still a lot to play for.”
The Clarets have dragged themselves off the bottom of the table and clear of the relegation places since failing to win any of their first seven games.
But they still have to complete their recovery mission after an impressive West Ham side hit back from falling behind to Chris Wood’s early penalty to keep their top-four hopes alive thanks to a quick-fire double from Michail Antonio.
“West Ham are fighting for the Champions League and that was the performance of a team pushing for the top four,” said Pope.
“They are a good team. They have come back after narrowly avoiding the drop last year and they look a new team.
“You can tell by the points they’ve got on the board at this stage.
“It was always going to be a difficult game and that’s how it proved.
“We created our own chances but there were a couple of bad moments from our point of view that cost us.
“At this level you get punished and tonight we did. But overall performance-wise I thought it was a good effort from the lads.
“We had a couple of moments in the second half when we pushed on and created our own chances.
“We were a bit more open at our end, but we had to do that when you’re behind. We nearly got something but just couldn’t quite get an equaliser in the second half.”