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Reaction: Pope Back In Business

Clarets keeper frustrated to leave Arsenal empty-handed

17 August 2019

Nick Pope is looking to stay in the groove after doing his best to earn the Clarets a point – at both ends of the pitch.

The Clarets’ number-one pulled off a handful of fine saves to keep Burnley in the hunt at the Emirates Stadium.

And after finally being beaten by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Pope almost helped force a late equaliser before Arsenal survived to close out a 2-1 win.

“I’ve not scored one yet and it would have been nice today,” said Pope, whose header from a late corner gave James Tarkowski the sniff of a dramatic leveller as Sean Dyche’s men piled on the pressure.

“I’m one of the biggest lads out there so I try and cause a bit of carnage.

“It was a bit too high for me really, which is ironic. I managed to nod it down and we nearly scored off it.”

The Clarets looked good value for at least a point at half time after Ashley Barnes had made it three goals in two games to start the season to cancel out Alexandre Lacazette’s opener as Burnley took the fight to the Gunners.

Pope save 3.jpg

But the Clarets have never managed to leave the Emirates Stadium with any reward and the hoodoo continued as Dyche's battlers lost by a single goal for the fifth time in Premier League meetings with the Gunners.

“It seems to happen here a few times. The performance was really encouraging,” added Pope.

“We put Arsenal under some real pressure by pressing high up the pitch and we got some joy from that.

“When you come to the big grounds and the top six that’s how you want to play and, unfortunately, we just fell a bit short.

“We put them under some real pressure, and we were a bit unfortunate at the end, I think.

“They are going to have spells when they’re on top, we know that. It’s riding them out the best you can and sticking at it.

“The game’s going to come your way again and when it gets to the last 10 minutes you know they’re going to get a bit nervy and you might get one more chance.

“And if you score late you’ve got a great chance of getting a result.”

Pope had made impressive second-half saves from Aubameyang, Dani Ceballos and substitute Lucas Torreira to push Arsenal to the limit.

And the England man is revelling in being back on the big stage after last season’s injury-enforced absence.

Pope applause PA.jpg

“It was a slow time last year and a long season for me,” Pope admitted.

“So to be back out there with this team I’m really proud, especially with the boys today.

“I know there will be 10 in front of me running their hearts out to protect my goal, so I can’t ask for any more.

 “When you come to big grounds and the top six you normally have more to do so I like to step in when I can.

“I had a couple of cup games last year and in the Under-23s towards the end of last season.

“You get sharpness in pre-season, so I don’t feel I’ve been out of it as long as I have been match-wise.

“I’m feeling really good at the minute, so I have to carry on performing at a good level.”

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