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Taylor Relishing Turkey Leg Of Euro Challenge

Clarets defender hopes for another big night as European tour breaks new ground

9 August 2018

Charlie Taylor says the Clarets are relishing the prospect of their Turkey test.

Burnley have travelled abroad for a European tie for the first time since they faced Eintracht Frankfurt in the Inter-Cities Fairs quarter-finals in 1967.

The Clarets’ reward for knocking out Aberdeen at the last stage of the Europa League is also a first competitive fixture against Turkish opposition.

And Taylor is hoping Sean Dyche’s ground-breakers can back up their 4-2 aggregate win over the Dons with another positive first leg result against Istanbul Basaksehir tonight (kick-off 7pm BST) to keep alive hopes of an extended run in the competition.

“The win over Aberdeen was a great occasion for the club as a whole,” said Taylor, who came off the bench to provide the extra-time goal from Jack Cork at Turf Moor last Thursday night that finally broke the Scots’ resistance.

“The whole night was special and to have a win, get through to the next round and to have a trip into Europe is brilliant for the fans.

“We have waited so long to get into Europe, it was important to get through the first round.

“We managed to do that and roll on the next round. It will be a tough game in a tough environment, but we will relish it.

“The away goal was huge at Aberdeen and if we can get an away goal there it will give us a real strong chance coming back to Turf Moor and hopefully getting through to the round after that.”

Greek side Olympiakos or FC Lucerne of Switzerland await in the play-off round, with the winners of that tie going on to the Europa League’s group stages.

But first the Clarets have to try and negotiate their way past a Basaksehir side competing in the Europa League for a fourth successive year, having gone into the group stage last season after losing to Seville in the play-off round of the Champions League.

That followed a second-place finish in the Turkish Super League in 2016/17, when Basaksehir finished six points behind champions Besiktas but ahead of both traditional Istanbul heavyweights Fenerbahce and Galatasary.

Last season normal order was restored with Galatasary and Fenerbahce occupying the top two slots.

But only goal difference prevented Basaksehir from finishing second again and the club – originally founded in 1990 but re-located, re-branded and re-named Basaksehir in 2014 following their return to the top flight – appears to be a coming force in Turkish football.

Backed by major investment and playing in the modestly-sized but impressively modern Fatih Terim Stadium, the team, managed by former Turkey manager Abdullah Avci, has a squad littered with experience.

Thirty-seven-year-old former Newcastle United and Inter Milan midfielder Emre Belozoglu – who has also played for Galatasary and Fenerbahce and been capped 95 times by Turkey – captains a side which may also include the ex-Arsenal and Manchester City pair of defender Gael Clichy, 33, and striker Emmanuel Adebayor, 34.

Turkish international midfielder Arda Turan, 31, is on loan from Barcelona, while the home ranks also include former Fulham and Birmingham City winger Kerim Frei.

However, the tie comes just three days before the start of the Turkish domestic league campaign when Basaksehir are at home to Trabzonspor.

It therefore remains to be seen how Avci juggles his resources, with the hosts seemingly determined to make a major statement in their own league as they pursue Champions League football in the future.

The Clarets, of course, have their own busy schedule to balance with the start of the Premier League season just three days away and the return leg against Basaksehir coming quickly next Thursday.

Injuries have also stretched Dyche’s squad but the Burnley boss will do everything to try and keep pursuing a twin challenge as his players – who got their first taste of the stadium when they conducted a light training session at kick-off time on Wednesday night – gear up for another big night in Burnley history.

“We have not gone away from the fact – and we have been very honest and open – that the main challenge is the Premier League,” said Dyche.

“That’s what we want to continue in and we know we have to work hard in that.

“But as I have said, it is a fantastic badge of honour, or an accolade, whichever you want to use - the Europa League, so we are certainly taking that seriously.

“We know the side here has got some very experienced players, well-travelled players and some very good technical players.

“We have to be aware of that, but our mind-set never changes.

“We try and win every game that we play and that’s our mentality which has served us well.”

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