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The Tie's Not Over - Heaton

Clarets' captain praises fighting spirit as 3-1 loss still gives Euro lifeline

23 August 2018

Tom Heaton insists the Clarets aren’t out of Europe yet as they look to stage a famous fightback at Turf Moor.

A 3-1 first-leg defeat at Olympiakos has left the former Greek champions as favourites to progress from the play-off round and book a place in the group stage of the Europa League.

But an away goal from Chris Wood, via the penalty spot, and a fighting rearguard action with 10 men has kept hopes alive.

And Heaton – starting his first game in over 11 months – is adamant the tie isn’t over with the return leg to come at Burnley next Thursday night.

“It got tough in the second half, but we are still here and we take them back to Turf Moor next week and we still fancy out chances of coming through the tie,” said the Clarets’ captain who returned in goal.

“Olympiakos away from home with a hostile atmosphere was never going to be easy.

“We all know their experience in Europe but we want to come here and face that and I thought we did that.

“We wanted to stay in the tie, especially in the last 25 minutes, and we did that and we go to Turf Moor ready to go at them.”

The Clarets conceded twice after the break to go two goals behind after Wood had made it 1-1.

The Greeks’ third goal came in controversial fashion as defender Ben Gibson was judged to have blocked a shot with his hand – the ball seemingly coming off his chest first – and then receiving a second yellow card to be sent off by Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic.

But Sean Dyche’s men dug in to make sure they wouldn’t concede again and make a 2-0 win enough to get through next week.

“We rallied well after Gibbo had been sent off and it becomes a little bit more about staying in it, which we did,” Heaton added.

“We kept working and we take it back to Turf Moor next week and look to put the foot on the accelerator.

 “We all know what European football is like. It’s a different mentality to the referees.

“We try not to get involved in that and concentrate on what we do, which I thought we did well.

“Away from home and 3-1 down with 25 minutes to go is tough but we stuck to our task and did it well. “I thought a lot of people stood up and were counted.”

The Clarets were backed by 1,000 travelling fans, who made themselves heard in a cauldron of noise.

And Heaton paid tribute to their efforts to get to the game with another make-or-break Turf Moor occasion to come next Thursday night.

“Being out there, the atmosphere was incredible. I thought the travelling support from the Burnley fans was brilliant,” said the skipper.

“We’ve all been aware of the amount who have travelled over here and got themselves to four hours away in Athens on a Thursday night.

“I spoke to a few of them in the airport on the way over and some of the lay-overs and different destinations they have gone via to get here.

“I had a look myself, actually, to try and get my wife and dad out here and it was tough. It was easy getting here, so fair play to them with the numbers. It was fantastic support and we look forward to more of it next week.”


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