Charlie Taylor admits Burnley hit rock-bottom with their Boxing Day beating by Everton.
A 5-1 home defeat by the Toffees left the Clarets stuck in the bottom three and staring at a relegation battle.
But Taylor believes arguably Burnley’s worst performance of the season was also the launchpad for a recovery he hopes will continue in the return meeting on Merseyside tonight (Friday).
The loss to Everton in December was the ninth defeat in 11 games in a worrying run for Sean Dyche’s men who found themselves three points adrift in the drop-zone.
And Taylor recognises that as the pivotal point in a season which will end with the Clarets having successfully secured a fourth successive season of Premier League football.
“The manner of the defeat and the way everything went and the league table at that point, I’d say that was the lowest point,” confessed the left-back.
“But in another way, it was a turning point.
“We knew things weren't right. It wasn't like us. We'd gone from being a good, solid defensive team to letting in five at home.
“We knew that wasn't right and not like us and we knew things had to change and get back to how we know we can play.
“We knew at Christmas if we didn't change things, we'd be looking at being relegated and no-one wanted that. It was in our own hands and we had to pull our fingers out to turn it around.
“There was a lot of pressure on us at Christmas time and we've come through it with flying colours.
“In 2019 our form has been right up there with the best in the league, so that's credit to us and everyone at the club.”
An eight-match unbeaten run immediately after the Everton reverse at Turf Moor lifted the Clarets clear of danger before Dyche’s side completed the job with a haul of 10 points from a possible 12 up to Easter Monday.
A 1-0 defeat to Manchester City last weekend stalled the momentum as the title favourites were relieved to leave Turf Moor with maximum points.
But Taylor is looking to bounce back at Goodison Park against the in-form Toffees, whose impressive run of four wins in six games has given them an outside chance of succeeding the Clarets as ‘best of the rest’ in finishing seventh in the table.
“We know the form they've been in. At home they've been very good, beaten a lot of top six teams,” Taylor added.
“So, it's going to be tough. But we'll go there and hopefully get a result. It's another challenge for us but we'll hopefully enjoy it.
“You’d have to say the pressure is off, because we are safe. But at the same time, the gaffer won’t let us rest for one minute and we won’t take our foot off the gas.
“We’ve got two games left and we want to give our all. We want to get as high up the table as possible and finish on a good run.
“Everyone wants to play well and win and take that into next season.”
Seventh place could again be enough to secure European football next season, with Everton trying to catch Wolves – who are four points ahead of the ninth-placed Toffees with two games to go.
And while qualification for the qualifying phase of the Europa League is seen by some as a double-edged sword, Taylor believes the Clarets’ participation in the competition has helped make it a memorable campaign.
“I’ve loved every minute,” said the 25-year-old, who has figured in every Premier League game so far as one of the Clarets’ most consistent performers.
“It’s been a strange season, but I think it’s been a good one. For me, personally, it’s been an enjoyable one.
“There have never been any dull moments. It’s always been exciting and there’s always been something on.
“It started with the Europa League, which was a new experience for everyone.
“Our form was poor before Christmas, but since then, 2019 has been brilliant for us.”