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Huddersfield Trip 'Just As Big As United'

Nick Pope fully focused on Terriers as Clarets seek more away-day joy

29 December 2017

Nick Pope admits nothing beats performing in a big game at Old Trafford.

But he insists he will approach Saturday’s visit to Huddersfield Town in exactly the same way as the Clarets look to enhance their impressive away record.

Burnley’s 2-2 Boxing Day draw at Manchester United made it 16 points on the road for Sean Dyche’s side this season – a total not bettered by anyone outside the Premier League's top four.

And Pope played his part with a trio of top-drawer saves and a commanding aerial display as the in-form keeper made the most of another opportunity to showcase his talent on the big stage against a United side sitting second in the Premier League.

“You’re walking out at Old Trafford and thinking ‘where else do you want to play football?’” said Pope, who blocked everything that came his way bar two second-half Jesse Lingard strikes which denied Burnley all three points.

“If you can’t enjoy playing football there, where can you enjoy playing?

“It’s something, since I came into the team, I’ve been determined to do.

“It’s the biggest league in the world and one every wants to play in.

“You’ve got to enjoy it and if you don’t enjoy it I think you’re silly.

“And it’s a big part for me, that if I’m enjoying it I’m playing quite well, so I’ve gone down that road so far.”

Pope’s positive outlook has paid off with the former Charlton Athletic number-one keeping nine clean sheets behind Burnley’s well-drilled back four since he came into the side a month into the season.

One of those shut-outs came in a 0-0 draw at home to Huddersfield on his first Premier League start at Turf Moor.

And the 25-year-old would love a repeat in the return fixture against the Terriers, with the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium to face the top-flight new boys being given exactly the same focus as Tuesday’s game against the 20-time champions.

“It’s what any goalkeeper will tell you, it’s what they’re after out of a game,” Pope added.

“To have kept the ones we have has been nice and hopefully there will be another one on Saturday.

“Every Premier League game is tough, whoever you play, and especially away games.

“We found it hard last year and it’s still the same this year. They are still tough games.

“Wherever we’ve been, we approach every game the same. That’s what we’ve always been about all season.

“Every game is a Premier League game and every game is a hard game and that’s what we’ve got to expect in our position. That’s what we do expect and that’s what we prepare for.

“Huddersfield are a different opponent, but it’s going to be another tough game.

“It’s another challenge for us and we will go in with the same mindset as we did at Old Trafford.

“We’ve played well away from home. We are confident and we’ve got to take into that game and be on the front foot and play how we know we can, and hopefully we’ll get some points.”


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