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Heaton: Sticking Together Inspired Us

20 May 2017

Tom Heaton believes strength forged in adversity helped propel the Clarets to Premier League safety.

Sean Dyche’s side effectively secured their top-flight status a fortnight ago and could even finish the season as high as 11th-place with victory over West Ham United at Turf Moor on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

And Heaton traces their successful run back to an unlikely night in the West Midlands, when the Clarets were beaten 4-0 at West Bromwich Albion back in November – their heaviest defeat of the season.

“One moment sticks out for me,” the Burnley number-one told Clarets Player.

“At half-time away at West Brom. We were 3-0 down and we had a moment before the manager said his piece, which was pretty strong.

"It was 'whatever happens from here on in, we stick together'.

"It was going to be a tough night, 3-0 down at West Brom. We were border-line very poor and it could have been a bit worse than that.

A tough night at the Hawthorns galvanised the Clarets

"They are the sort of moments where as a team you have to stick together. You can't start pointing the finger, you can't start chucking the towel in, and it's tough.

"Things aren't going your way, and they're probably not going to go your way, but it's important that we really had that togetherness.

"I thought that was a pivotal moment in the season.

"All right, we got beaten on the night. Fair enough. You hold your hands up and we weren't great, but I think we really did stick together in that second half.

"It's important and it's very difficult, at times, to do that in team sports, certainly in my experience."

After that defeat at the Hawthorns, the Clarets also went on to lose four of their next five games.

But Heaton obviously feels they came out of it better equipped to handle the battles ahead.

Dyche’s men forged on to secure the points they needed to guarantee top-flight football again next season – all but wrapping up safety with a 2-2 draw against West Brom in the return meeting a fortnight ago.

And with the initial mission impressively accomplished, Heaton is now looking to finish the season in style with victory against the Hammers and a remarkable 11th home win of the season.

The Clarets’ captain added: “The target was to stay in the Premier League and we've done that with a game or two to spare.

“We've not finished there, there's still places to play for, and we're still determined to make our way up the table. Three points on Sunday will certainly help.

"Overall, it's been great. I've thoroughly enjoyed it and we're delighted to stay in the league, and excited for next year and hopefully continuing that success.”

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