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Pope Hopes To 'Clean Up'

Miserly Clarets closing in on Premier League best

20 February 2020

Nick Pope is chasing a personal best and a new club record as the Clarets aim to keep it clean.

Pope has recorded nine clean sheets so far this season with a dozen Premier League games to go.

Only Liverpool’s Alisson has earned more, with the Brazilian one ahead of Pope, Sheffield United’s Dean Henderson and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel in the race for the league’s golden glove.

More uppermost in Pope’s mind, however, is continuing the Clarets’ mean streak which has taken them to within three of the 12 clean sheets they enjoyed in the 2017/18 season – their highest total as a Premier League club.

“For a goalkeeper and a team to have that number is great,” said Pope.

Pope Mee FT hug.jpg

“To get to double figures would be nice to start off with and then see how many we can get.

“It was 11 the first time around a couple of years ago, which was a great achievement, so to be able to match that or go beyond it would be nice if we could get there.”

Pope could actually claim 11-and-a-half clean sheets two seasons ago after replacing the injured Tom Heaton during a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace just four games into his break-through season at Turf Moor.

The England international was denied a further share of a club-best three successive Premier League shut-outs when ex-Clarets Danny Ings scored past him at Southampton last weekend.

But the Saints weren’t permitted a second goal as Burnley extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 2-1 victory which lifted them up to 11th place in the table ahead of Saturday’s visit of Bournemouth.

Pope catch.jpg

And Pope is quick to share the credit for the Clarets’ resilience which has seen them take 10 points from 12 and go in search of the double against a Bournemouth side beaten 1-0 at the Vitality Stadium just before Christmas.

“We just work hard,” he added. “You could tell last Saturday, even though it wasn’t a clean sheet, we were holding onto a one-goal lead and everyone was working hard for myself and the whole team, running after loose balls and putting pressure on their defenders to not let the ball come forward or, if it does, making sure it’s rushed forward and not as good quality.

“Everyone is fighting for the ball as defenders and midfielders, winning second balls and keeping hold of the ball when you’ve got it.

“In the Premier League, you can’t just keep giving the ball back to the opposition because you’ll get punished.

“You’ve got to be brave and be confident to hold the ball and make passes and build your way up the pitch.

“That’s something we’ve looked better at the last few weeks.”

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