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Heaton: Lads Put Their Bodies On The Line

James Tarkowski clearance sums up fighting spirit as Clarets march on

14 January 2019

Tom Heaton hailed the Clarets’ will to win – epitomised by James Tarkowski’s points-clinching block against Fulham.

Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Cottagers made it three in a row in the Premier League for the Clarets, who moved up to 15th-place in the table.

But it took a remarkable goalline clearance from Tarkowski to deny the Londoners a second-half equaliser as Burnley dug deep to hang onto their lead and keep the momentum going.

“It’s brilliant from him back on the line. The manager mentioned it after the game,” said Heaton, who also made a smart save to keep out another effort from Fulham substitute Luciano Vietto.

“Those are the sort of margins that make a difference, especially in tight games like that.

“He stood and reacted to it and managed to keep it out. I’m not quite sure how it’s gone out for a corner from where he is.

“But he managed to keep it out. That’s the difference and there were plenty of them, maybe some further out, but that’s the sort of thing that really counts – especially in a tight game.

“Some of the defending was outstanding. Lads putting bodies on the line, getting a head in the way, it was brilliant to come out with a win.

“Even though we had that shake at the start, we rallied really well, got back into it and saw the game out great.”

After emerging from Christmas in the relegation places, the Clarets have turned their season around with maximum points from three games – as well as progressing in the FA Cup.

Sean Dyche’s men have come from behind to record their last two wins in vital fixtures against bottom-three sides to build a platform for the remainder of the campaign.

But Heaton – whose comeback in goal has coincided with a return to winning form – knows it’s not mission accomplished as the Clarets, still just three points above the bottom three, battle to stay in the top tier.

“To produce three league wins on the bounce has been brilliant,” added the skipper.

“It’s tight. We are moving up the table and I think the belief and the confidence floods back in. I think you can see that now.

“Of course, we don’t think it’s job done. We want to keep moving things forward, improving the performances and see where we can go with that.

“There’s a still a lot of work to do. Football has a habit of catching you if you think you’ve cracked it, so we will keep working in day-in, day-out and roll on the next one at Watford.”

Fulham’s wait for a first away win of the campaign was extended by two own-goals, both forced by Jeff Hendrick after Andre Schurrle had given the visitors the lead with a stunning early strike.

Hendrick performed impressively on the right-hand side of midfield with the Clarets missing three regular widemen through injury and suspension.

But Dyche hopes Johann Berg Gudmundsson will be back in contention for Saturday’s trip to Watford when Robbie Brady will sit out the third game of his ban.

“Yet again we are down on numbers and we just have to hope that changes soon,” said the Burnley boss.

“Johann has a good chance for next week. It was a tight one, but he just didn’t feel that it was right and we back that because we can’t keep losing players.

“You never know if he plays too early it could lead to a longer spell out, so we are hopeful it will settle down this week.”

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