Sean Dyche believes the signing of former England U21 ace Ben Gibson will drive his defensive unit onto greater heights.
The Middlesbrough captain, 25, became the Clarets’ join-record signing when he signed a four-year deal to add defensive strength to the collective group.
And the gaffer is delighted to capture a player hungry to succeed at Turf Moor.
He said: “We are always trying to increase the competitive demand in the group, and last year we carried three centre halves, which is tricky.
“The demands of the Premier League are there for all to see and, of course we now have the Europa league and we don’t know how far that’s going to go.
Then you have domestic cups, so that has to be looked at.
“Ben is a very competitive player and he will continually push the players. One of the definite demands of being a footballer is when a new face comes in, particularly a high qualify new face.
“I think he is high quality and he is up for the challenge of competing for the shirt. I spoke to him and he’s very straight and very demanding.
“He’s captain-type, and has captained his last club, so he has a really strong mentality and I think he knows he is going to have to earn the right, as everyone does here.”
Dyche was speaking following the 0-2 home defeat to Espanyol in the final pre-season friendly ahead of a week that starts in Istanbul and ends with the Premier League curtain-raiser at Southampton.
The Clarets fielded a youthful side against the Spaniards after making 11 changes to the side that defeated Aberdeen on Thursday after extra time.
The gaffer added: “It was a good exercise for the younger players in particular.
We started with four of them and it’s a big jump playing against such opposition against a good side.
“The challenge we’ve had in pre-season is that these last two (friendlies) have been good games for us, but we ‘ve just fallen short of numbers.
“We want all our competitive first team players out there getting good fitness, but the upside is that these young players have had a chance to find out what it’s like in these type of games.”