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More The Merrier For Cork

Midfielder ready to embrace busy start as Clarets build up for European campaign

10 July 2018

Jack Cork is ready to take on another major workload if it means making a splash in Europe.

Cork admits he needed a breather after playing every minute of the Clarets’ Premier League campaign in 2017/18 to help Sean Dyche’s side secure a slot in the Europa League.

Cork's efforts and those of his team-mates mean an early start to the new season with Burnley facing the first leg of their Europa League third qualifying-round tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie on 26 July.

If they can then launch a run in the club’s first crack at European competition for 51 years, the current Clarets could play up to six games in the qualifying phase of the competition in tandem with their Premier League fixtures before the end of August.

But Cork - one of only five outfield players across the Premier League not to miss a minute of his side's 38 games last season - will welcome a hectic start to the new season as he aims for a sustained first taste of European football.

“Hopefully it will be busy,” said the midfield dynamo. “We’d like to get as far in the European competition as possible.

“It will be a bit strange maybe being a few games into the season before actually starting the (Premier League) season so it will be interesting to see how everyone deals with that.

“But we’ve got a fit squad and hopefully we’ll do well. We just have to focus on the Aberdeen game first.

“That’s not going to be an easy game at all. They are a good team and we’ve got to get through that.”

Dyche’s men earned their place in the Europa League on the back of a best finish by a Burnley side since 1974.

They have given themselves a tough act to follow this time around, but Cork hopes the platform is in place for another big season at home and abroad.

The England international told Clarets Player HD: “The focus is on the European games, to try and get a few wins in that and try to get to the group stage of that.

“That would probably be a big target. We have given ourselves the opportunity and I think it would be a shame to waste it.

“That would probably be the main aim and, like we did last year, try and get off to a good start to the season. That’s all we’re thinking about.”

Cork added: “From what I’ve seen before in the Premier League it’s never an easy season. I’ve been in teams before where expectations have changed and you set different goals which are unrealistic.

“For us, it will always be staying in this league and competing in this league.

“But to have a successful season like last year and do as well as we did, it would be a shame not to try and build and do something like that.”

Cork in Cork: Click on the video above to watch the full interview from the Clarets’ training base in Ireland as Jack Cork talks about pre-season and his hopes for the campaign to come.

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