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Heaton Loves Test Of Mettle

Show of strength delights skipper as Claret stand firm

11 February 2019

Tom Heaton gave a goalkeeping master-class at Brighton and admits there’s nothing he likes better than standing firm in the face of storm.

The Clarets’ skipper produced a handful of eye-catching saves in the first half at a rain-lashed Amex Stadium before Burnley built on Chris Wood’s opener with two more goals to take control after the break.  

But it was the collective effort to keep Brighton at bay in the closing stages that gave Heaton most pleasure as the Seagulls’ attempted comeback foundered on the solid rocks of Burnley’s back line.

“We had to stand up and be counted and I think we did that really well,” said Heaton after a “massive” 3-1 win lifted Burnley out of the bottom three and level on points with Albion in 14th-place.

“We embraced the game really well and the work ethic and application were first-class again.

“We got the goals, but once the momentum shifts a little bit and they score I enjoy it with the blocks, the bodies on the line, the headers and keeping the shape when the lads are tried.

“They throw caution to the wind and threw the centre-half up front and I enjoy it a little bit.

“That’s when it’s a real test and a real defensive unit and I thought we came through that really, really well.”

Heaton’s return to the Clarets’ starting line-up has coincided with a club record seven-match unbeaten run at Premier League level.

But the England international knows there is still work to be done to complete the recovery and keep top-flight football at Turf Moor.

“Unbeaten in seven games in the Premier League is a fantastic feat,” Heaton told Clarets Player HD.

“Four wins in there and three draws and, arguably, could have been a couple more wins. It’s a great marker for how we are going about it at the minute.

“It might not be that straight-forward all the way through and that’s an important message.

“We’ve got to keep taking on the challenge and keep embracing it, which we are doing at the minute.

“There’s still a long way to go and it’s still tight down there.

“I’m conscious of not looking too much at the table and just focusing on what we are doing.

“We are doing the right things and it’s important we take that into each and every game.”

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