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James Tarkowski shares defensive praise with back four and keeper Nick Pope

2 October 2017

James Tarkowski insists the Clarets’ defensive durability is a collective effort as the bedrock to their superb start to the season.

Burnley’s back line has won widespread praise from opposition, supporters and pundits during an opening seven-match sequence which sees Sean Dyche’s men sit in the Premier League’s top six.

Tarkowski has also received plenty of individual praise for the way he has successfully filled the gap left by the summer departure of Michael Keane to Everton.

The Clarets’ centre-back was awarded Sky Sports’ man-of-the-match award as Keane’s new club was beaten 1-0 at Goodison Park on Sunday.

But Tarkowksi says the current run of success is down to the entire defensive unit – including goalkeeper Nick Pope – with the back four of Matt Lowton, Ben Mee and Stephen Ward not missing a minute of league action between them so far this term.

“It’s not just about the way I play,” Tarkowski told Clarets Player. “I can’t do my job without the lads around me doing theirs.

“If I was left exposed it would be so much for difficult. We are always round one another.

James Tarkowski has been credited with 124 clearances this season

“If someone skips past me, someone is always behind to help me out and vice-versa. I think all the lads around me were terrific.

“We have got some nice little partnerships between us, me and Lowts, me and Ben and Ben and Wardy.

“We are all learning from each other and Popey has come in and he’s been terrific as well. He’s really stepped up and it’s working well so far.”

The Clarets have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games and only the top two of Manchester City and Manchester United have conceded less than Burnley’s total of five goals against.

And that has helped Dyche’s side take 12 points from their opening seven matches and stay unbeaten away from Turf Moor, despite a fixture list that had sent them to three of last season’s top four clubs before their weekend win on Merseyside.

“We have started well,” Tarkowski added.

“The lads are full of confidence at the moment. We have got a really good group.

“Every time we go into games we are really looking for the three points and so far this season we’re seeing that.

“When you see that start away from home, everyone says it will be tough.

“We knew it would be a tough start but we have stepped up to the plate so far.

“City is our next away game, which will be another opportunity to go away from home and show what we can do and we’ll look forward to that.”

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