Steven Defour says he is part of the ‘strongest’ group he has known as he continues to flourish at Turf Moor.
Defour has enjoyed a prolific career in Belgium and Portugal, winning domestic titles in both countries and playing in the Champions League.
But he has not experienced the kind of bond he has found with the Clarets, where players speak a common language, support each other on and off the pitch and bond over a weekly game of forfeits when ‘offenders’ have to take a spin to find out their punishment for various misdemeanours.
“It’s the strongest group – as one group – I’ve seen in my career,” said Defour.
“We have the spins, so we have to control each other, and when we do things we do it all together.
“When we have a drink or we have a dinner, we do it all together.
“They are the little things that make us one big group.
“There are no stars here, so everyone has to do their job. When someone misses a pass or is not in good form, everyone is there to help him.
“There is competition to drive each other forward, but we are not mean to each other.”
Defour has emerged as key player in his second season at Burnley, starting every Premier League game so far to help Sean Dyche’s men into the top six and forming a superb central midfield partnership with summer signing Jack Cork.
The Clarets’ all-round progress has benefited the former Genk, Standard Liege, Porto and Anderlecht midfielder – and vice versa.
And Defour has thrived in a team that has developed from one scrapping for survival to one competing at the top end of the table ahead of Saturday’s Turf Moor clash against Tottenham Hotspur and a Boxing Day trip to Manchester United.
“I think nobody expected us to be this high, so it’s fair to say we are having a good season,” added the Belgium international.
“I think we brought in some quality players and we mixed our game-play. I like to play football, I like to have the ball and do good things with it.
“I think it’s also part of our good season that when we have the ball we do good things with it.
“It’s a nice evolution. If you want to compete with the other Premier League teams you have to adapt your game and I think we’ve done that, without forgetting about our defensive qualities.
“We have to get the balance, because we are still Burnley and we have to keep that in mind.
“We take nothing for granted and we know we have to work 100 per cent every day to achieve what we are achieving now.
“We know we are not the best players in the world, so we have to compensate with our mentality, which is what we try to do.
“Last year the difference was our home form, because we never gave up. This year we are having a bit more quality away from home and a bit more calmness with the ball.
“With the season we’ve had so far we have had some decent results against the good teams, so we hope we continue that form.”