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Pope: Clarets' Character Shining Through

First clean sheet and first away win cap dream week for Clarets' keeper

23 November 2019

Nick Pope hailed the spirit in the Clarets’ camp after back-to-back wins propelled Sean Dyche’s men into the Premier League’s top six.

Pope’s fifth clean sheet of the campaign – and Burnley’s first away from home since January – was the cornerstone of a superb 3-0 victory at Watford and a first win on the road this term.

And it completed the perfect response to a defeat by the same scoreline at Sheffield United in the Clarets’ last away outing.

“You’re going to go through sticky moments during the season and you can’t play tremendously well every week, so to come off the back of that and react how we have done and put in two performances like that and get two results is really pleasing,” said Pope, who also enjoyed a shut-out in a beating of West Ham before the international break.

“Sheffield United was a down in the season but how we have reacted – with back-to-back 3-0 wins – is top-drawer from the lads.

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“If you win back-to-back the group gets buoyed and it’s a great feeling around the camp at the minute.

“We carried that into the game and when you go through sticky patches in games or in the season you need that togetherness.

“That’s a big part of how we are and what we are and the character that’s a big strength of ours.

“We’ve built momentum, which is hard to get hold of in the Premier League, so it would be great to keep hold of that and take into next week and hopefully get another win.”

Pope’s performance behind a resolute back four laid the foundation for a second-half surge which brought match-winning goals from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski.

And his assured display also underlined the keeper’s England credentials following a first start for his country in a Euro 2020 qualifying win in Kosovo last weekend.

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“I’m over the moon on a personal level to come through the England game and my full debut in a competitive fixture and then to end the week with t hat is just the icing on the cake,” added the 27-year-old, who made two vital saves from Watforddangerman Gerard Deulofeu before the break.

“We stuck in there in the first half. It probably wasn’t our best half of the season but it’s key, especially in away games, that you stay in the game and give yourselves a chance to come out in the second half and put a few things right and we did that really well.

“In every Premier League game the first goal is a big thing, so to stick in the game and to be able to build a performance from a solid defence base is key.

“We have looked a real threat this year. It’s not the first time we’ve scored three goals and if we keep it tight at the back, we always know we’ve got a chance of scoring.”

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