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We Hold Our Heads High - Vokes

Striker insists Clarets gave everything in Euro defeat and now sets sights on Premier League

31 August 2018

Sam Vokes said the Clarets should hold their heads high after refusing to go out of the Europa League without a fight.

Burnley’s hopes of place in the group stages of the competition were dashed by a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Olympiakos in the play-off round.

But Sean Dyche’s side were unfortunate not to overturn a 3-1 deficit from the first leg in Greece with a heroic performance in the return at Turf Moor where they were urged on by fantastic home support.

“They backed us. You can’t beat nights at the Turf when it’s like that. It was bouncing and the fans were right behind us,” said Vokes who, on another night, could have walked away with the match ball after threatening the Olympiakos goal all night.

“It was unfortunate we couldn’t get it done but we hold our heads high.

“I think even if we had gone through I don’t think the three teams would have been as tough as that. It’s been a tough road, but an enjoyable road and I think the fans and the players have enjoyed it all together.

“It’s an experience I’m sure of us never dreamed we would have. It’s been one we’ve been proud to take part in and we’ll keep our heads high because we’ve gone out to strong side normally in the Champions League in Olympiakos.

“We gave a good account of ourselves, especially tonight, and reflecting on it, I think it’s a proud moment for us and all of the club.

“It’s 51 years I think since we last played in this competition. It’s where we want to be and we’d love to get back there.”

The Clarets certainly had to try and do it the hard way on their eagerly awaited Europeanm return, with an unkind draw pitching them against Aberdeen, Istanbul Basaksehir and then Olympiakos – Greek Super League champions for seven successive seasons before slipping off their perch last season to finish third.

Home wins over the Scottish and Turkish opposition took Burnley to within one more victory of the group stages, but it was not to be as Olympiakos survived an onslaught before going ahead through Daniel Podence’s 83rd-minute goal to all but seal their passage through.

Matej Vydra’s equaliser on his debut meant the Clarets lost only one of their six European ties over a hectic six-week period.

But an elusive opening goal proved costly for Burnley, who will now focus their efforts on looking for a first Premier League win.

“I think everyone here could see we gave our all and we were fully committed to the tie and going through,” Vokes told Clarets Player HD.

“We knew the job we needed to do and went about it the right way and we’re gutted to go out.

“Attack after attack we created loads of chances. I could have had a few myself before half time and then in the second half when I hit the post.

“We created lots of other chances as well, but we will keep our heads held high and come back in and we’ve got another big one around the corner with United on Sunday.

“We’ve had a great experience in this and it’s time to concentrate on the league.”

Dyche’s men have taken just one point from their opening three league games but after the disappointment of last Sunday’s 4-2 defeat at Fulham, showed the perfect response with seven changes to the starting line-up for the European tie as Manchester United prepare to visit Turf Moor this weekend.

“It’s something new to us all and it’s been great to have that experience, but now it’s important we get back to our day job and concentrate on the league,” added Vokes.

“We know in some of the Premier League games we haven’t quite been at our best and so it’s important that we take the positives from last night and build on that for Sunday.”

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