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Pieters: I'll Play Where I'm Needed

Dutch defender enjoying midfield role as Clarets extend unbeaten run

6 July 2020

Erik Pieters is revelling in his midfield role after happily stepping into the breach to help the Clarets keep their unbeaten run going.

Pieters has started the last two games in a wide midfield position – playing on both the left and right-hand sides to fill a void created by a litany of injury problems.

It’s unfamiliar territory for the Dutchman, a long-serving left-back who had previously occupied a midfield slot just a couple of times in his career for Stoke City and during a loan spell in France with Amiens.

But the 31-year-old hasn’t looked out of place, keeping a balance and discipline - as well as a goal threat - to a side that is sitting ninth in the table following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.

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“I like playing that, to be honest. It’s a bit different but I don’t mind playing there. I know where to go, so it’s quite nice,” said Pieters, who switched flanks at half-time against the Blades.

“It doesn’t change a lot. It’s nice to play there, especially with Chazza or Bardo behind me.

“I’ve played in the full-back positions, so I know what’s difficult for a full-back, where you stand and how you’re going to move. It’s a combination of knowing and the experience you have.

“Wherever the team needs me I will play. It’s a big compliment to how we’re doing things.

“The teams sticks together, works hard together and we’re looking really solid. We stay together and we grind through.”

The Clarets were little more than 10 minutes away from making it three successive wins before the Blades struck late to level at Turf Moor.

That kept the Yorkshiremen two points ahead of Burnley in the tussle for a potential European place.

The Clarets are having to do it the hard way, with skipper Ben Mee and midfield metronome Jack Cork the latest to be added to the injury list and potentially out for the remainder of the campaign.

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However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel with striker Chris Wood and widemen Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Robbie Brady all back in the squad to face the Blades.

And Pieters – whose last Premier League start before his comeback at Crystal Palace a week ago had come in a mid-December win over Newcastle – is embracing the challenge as Sean Dyche’s men prepare for Wednesday evening’s trip to West Ham United.

“We know the games are coming quickly. We have a small squad, although luckily some are coming back at the moment, so we are looking more decent,” he told Clarets Player HD.

“The team sticks together and we are looking forward. Get the games coming and we will be ready.

“Everyone is professional. We just can’t wait to play the next games. I think the main thing is to recover and make sure we’re ready and we go again on Wednesday.

“As a team, how we are playing at the moment I think we only have to look up. If you look at our fixtures and who we still have to play against, I think it’s only to our advantage.”

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