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Tarkowski Pride At Leading Clarets

Defender scores on first day as Premier League captain

5 July 2020

James Tarkowksi declared his pride at captaining the Clarets as he led Burnley to another unbeaten game as part of their remarkable restart.

Since losing first their first game post-lockdown at Manchester City, Sean Dyche’s men have collected seven points from nine to move into the top 10 and get within three points of Arsenal in seventh place.

And Tarkowski’s first home goal of the season almost made it the perfect day for the defender, who replaced injured sidekick Ben Mee as skipper for the first time in the top flight.

“It nearly was. It’s disappointing from that aspect, but overall, it’s not a bad day at the office,” said Tarkowski whose close-range finish took the Clarets to within 10 minutes of a third successive win and above Sheffield United in the table in the chase for a possible European slot.

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“It’s a shame for Ben, who’s been brilliant recently. It’s a great honour to lead Burnley out in the Premier League as captain.

“It’s something I’m really proud of, to lead out these lads who give everything week.

“I don’t think we’re too down about the fact it’s a draw. They’re a good side.

“They came out the blocks really fast but after that I thought we got control of the game and were pretty comfortable.

“It’s just a bit disappointing we were 1-0 up and feeling quite comfortable and not really looking in any danger.

“We maybe should have punished them and gone 2-0 up at some point.

“They had one chance from a set-piece and got a goal, which is a bit disappointing, but it’s another game unbeaten which is another pleasing aspect of it.”

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As well as missing Mee – breaking up his central defensive partnership with Tarkowski after 56 success top-flight games – the Clarets were also without midfielder Jack Cork.

Both could miss the remainder of the season to leave Burnley’s resources severely stretched.

But Jay Rodriguez was back to start – along with Kevin Long – while there were welcome returns via the bench for Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Chris Wood, while Robbie Brady was also back to strengthen the squad.

And Tarkowski isn’t looking for excuses on the back of a 1-1 draw as Dyche’s men keep battling on to remain in the chasing pack outside the top six.

“We are showing a great attitude,” he added. “It’s a shame for Ben because he hasn’t missed a game for so long. But this was an opportunity for Longy to come in and show what he’s all about and I thought he did really well.

“It’s not ideal but the lads who have come in have done brilliantly.

“We’re missing numbers but that’s the way it goes, and we’ve just got to keep getting back out there.

“The lads performed really well with a great attitude and a real appetite to go out and win games and perform well.

“It’s been pleasing in the last few games and hopefully we can keep that up in the final five games.”

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