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Pope: Everton Defeat The Spur

Clarets keeper aims to keep climbing as Toffees head back to town

4 October 2019

Nick Pope is hoping to continue the upward trajectory that began following Everton’s last visit to Turf Moor.

The Toffees’ 5-1 win at Burnley on Boxing Day saw the Clarets staring at a serious relegation fight.

Sean Dyche’s men found themselves in the Premier League’s bottom three with just 12 points at the half-way stage of the 2018/19 season.

But bouncing back with an eight-match unbeaten run transformed the Clarets’ fortunes as they propelled themselves to safety and a 15th-place finish.

And Pope admits the loss to Everton was a key moment in a revival that has continued into the current campaign – with nine points from the opening seven games representing a solid start to the new season’s work.

“It was possibly the best thing that could have happened to us. Looking back, it was a turning point,” said the Clarets’ goalkeeper.

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“It was something at the time that was a real low and bottom-out moment. It was a really bad day and bad defeat but moving forward it allowed us to take new steps and to build again.

“There’s a different feel (now) and a similar one we’ve tried to carry from the back end of last season when we finished so strong.

“A big part of the de-brief at the end of last season was to try not to get ourselves where we were and how we started the season.

“A big thing was not to start again, but to carry on how we finished and take that into the start of this season.”

The Clarets will be looking to make it back-to-back home wins and nine points from a possible 12 at Turf Moor when they again face Everton – who are 15th in the table after losing four of their last five league games – on Saturday.

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Dyche’s side is unbeaten in three matches since the last international break to sit just three points behind fifth-placed West Ham in the league table.

And Pope is keen to keep that run going before the next round of international commitments, which will see the Clarets’ number-one report for England duty next Monday following his latest call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for a Euro 2022 qualifying double-header.

“It would be nice to stay unbeaten,” added Pope, who will join Everton’s Jordan Pickford and former Clarets’ captain Tom Heaton in the England camp following his own impressive start to the season.

“You do kind of break the season down to a block of games, so to complete that block being unbeaten would be great for the squad.

“Creating momentum and carrying it is something that’s key.

“We feel like we’ve had a good start with a couple of good home wins as well and we’ll be looking to keep that run going on Saturday.

“It’s something we want to carry on and start on the front foot and get the crowd behind us and put in a good performance. It’s a strength of ours, so to keep that going would be great.”

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