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Confidence In Safe Hands With Pope

Clarets keeper aims to keep run going as Premier League table opens up

17 February 2020

Nick Pope says confidence is key as the Clarets keep their season an ‘open book’.

An unbeaten four-match run which has produced 10 points from a possible 12 has lifted Burnley from the edge of the Premier League’s relegation scrap to a place in mid-table and within two points of seventh spot.

And with Sean Dyche’s men back on top of their game, Pope is determined to do everything possible to keep the momentum going as they move towards the final dozen games of the campaign.

“When you’re on a good run and confidence is high you want to protect that and look after it,” said the Clarets’ goalkeeper.

“Confidence is a hard thing to get hold of. It’s easy to speak about when you’ve got it but if it was that easy to get hold of, or that easy to get back, everyone would have it and it would be a level playing field.

“But it’s not like that. There’s no magic formula. You’ve got to earn it through hard work and persistence to grapple it back.

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“So when you have got it, you’ve got to work hard to keep it and stay on top of your levels.”

The Clarets stayed in the groove with a 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday when Matej Vydra came off the bench to secure a fourth away success of the season with a stunning 60th-minute strike.

Burnley then rode out Storm Dennis to complete the double over the Saints and now look forward to the second half of a south-coast double header when Bournemouth come to Turf Moor next weekend.

“It’s great to be on the run that we’re on at the minute,” added Nick Pope, who made a vital late block from Southampton skipper Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg after ex-Claret Danny Ings had denied him a third successive clean sheet.

“In football and in life, when things are going well and results are good the mood is better, camp is better, training, everything takes a lift.

“You seem to pick up a bit of momentum and more belief and more confidence with every passing game almost, if you pick up another victory.

“We did that at the weekend. At 1-1 the game is kind of in the balance and we found a magic moment.

“We still had the belief even after they pegged us back from a goal that we could get that next goal and get the victory over the line.

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“When you’re on that sort run you do have that feeling of more belief and confidence, as you should, and you want to take that in your stride and use it to your benefit.”

The Clarets haven’t yet confirmed a fifth successive season of top-flight football at Turf Moor but are only six points shy of the 40-mark most associate with safety.

Beyond that, endless permutations are possible in a desperately congested division.

And Pope – whose impressive form is keeping him right at the centre of the England goalkeeping debate – is ready for whatever comes his way.

“It’s still too early to look at the table really,” the Clarets’ number-one told Burnley's official website.

“When you get into April with five or six games left then you can really see from there where you might be able to finish.

“But it’s an exciting time to be around and see where the season could go.

“We’ve got targets we want to achieve and the best way to do that is to go week by week.

“This season is still in the balance. It’s still very much an open book.

“We’ve got to see it that way and look for the challenge to take it forward and to take it as far as we can.”

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