Ashley Westwood believes Burnley’s solid start to the season has silenced their critics.
The Clarets, who return to action this weekend, sit seventh in the Premier League table with just two defeats in their opening eight games – away to Arsenal and at home to Liverpool.
A first away win of the campaign at Leicester City would even take them above the Foxes, who have enjoyed their own impressive start to the campaign.
And Westwood insists a clear focus this season, with nothing to distract Sean Dyche’s men from the task in hand, has contributed to building solid foundations.
“We’ve all worked hard in pre-season and not having European football has been a factor,” said Westwood.
“Travelling and getting back late ahead of the weekend, does take it out of you, but we’re not using that as an excuse and to be fair the lads have come back flying this pre-season.
“Everyone took that on board and wanted to prove people wrong. We weren’t happy with the start we made last season; nobody was, but we’ve made amends for that.”
Clarets midfielder Westwood has been another driving force in the early salvos of another gruelling Premier League season.
And the 29-year-old is aware of the task facing Burnley at the King Power this weekend, where emotions are sure to again be running high on the closest home game to the anniversary of the tragic death of Thai owner and Chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
“If anyone is going to give it a good go and break into the so-called big four, Leicester look like they are the ones,” added Westwood.
“It’s a long season though and they’ve started well, but so have we and hopefully it’s a good game.”
He added: “I don’t think you can ever look past the next game in this league. The Premier League is so tough and it’s always a battle, but at the moment we are looking up.
“We don’t want to be looking down, but as I say it’s a long old season and if we stay in the Premier League, that’s a big achievement again for this football club.”