Jack Cork insists a good start in the Premier League is vital as the Clarets look to extend theirs at another of his former clubs on Saturday.
Burnley go to Southampton sitting in seventh place in the table, with 16 points from 10 games.
And Cork knows the value of getting early points on the board after seeing the other side of the coin before his welcome return to Turf Moor in the summer.
“A good start is really key,” said the midfielder.
“I have been at clubs, and the last two seasons at Swansea, we have had a tough start, quite similar to this one where we’ve played a lot of the big teams in the first few games and all of a sudden you are chasing and trying to claw back.
“It’s not a good atmosphere to be part of and it’s been tough, so for us to get that start and get those blocks away – similar to what Burnley did last year – is great and you need that to get the base in for a good season.”
The Clarets’ flying start, in which Cork has been a key figure as an ever-present in the middle of the park, is even more credible given the fixture list which has already sent Sean Dyche’s men to five of the teams that finished in the top seven places last season.
“It’s been a great start,” added the former England under-21 international.
“If we had set targets at the beginning of the season, we would have set nothing like this.
“We have just got to keep improving and build on that. That’s what it is at the minute – that good start.
“It’s always tough when you start in the Premier League. You don’t want to set the goals too high or too unrealistic.
“You’ve got to set them at a good standard. People would look at 10 points from the first 10 games as probably a good return.
“For us to have 16 after the first 10 is unbelievable and a great start and great credit to everyone involved at the club.
“It comes down to great organisation, a great work ethic and belief we can do it.”
The Clarets set the ball rolling with their memorable opening-day win at Chelsea, where Cork started his career.
After a handful of loan moves – including two with the Clarets – the 28-year-old then made Southampton his second ‘permanent’ home with a move from Stamford Bridge in 2011.
He spent four happy years with the Saints – winning promotion from the Championship as the club’s only ever-present in his first season on the south coast – but will be out to keep his old club below Burnley in the table on his St Mary’s Stadium return with another positive result to maintain the Clarets’ momentum.
“The average points per game can change from Saturday. You can never take your eye off the ball for a second,” Cork said.
Jack Cork made over 150 appearances in two spells with Southampton
“Every game is a tough challenge and Southampton away is one of the hard away games you look at in the league and it’s going to be tough for us again.
“We just need to keep building. We need to take our chances when we can when we’re playing well and Southampton will be a good chance to do that.
“I’m looking forward to going back. It was a great club for me and probably one of the highlights of my career, getting promoted to the Premier League with Southampton.
“It was a great team and a great spirit we had, similar to what we have here at the minute.
“We had a good core of players, good quality, a good hard-work ethic and we achieved a lot with that group.
“A lot of people still keep in contact, which I imagine a lot of the players here would do if they moved on. It’s good to be part of a group like that again.”