BRAVERY has been the buzzword this week at Turf Moor, with Ben Mee’s heroics at Reading still a big talking point.
And fellow defender David Edgar admits the side have been inspired by the former Manchester City man, who threw his head at a shot from Noel Hunt to prevent a certain goal on Friday night.
The Canadian feels that shows the length the players will go to to keep out the opposition - and the statistics back him up.
Burnley had to wait uintil October for their first clean sheet of the season - at tomorrow’s opponents Millwall.
And their second against Ipswich started a run of seven shut outs in 14 games.
Only Reading and Birmingham boast a better defensive record in that period, and Edgar looked back at Mee’s selfless block: “At first I thought he’d handled it, which I thought was quite smart, but he’d stuck his face in front of the ball.
“But that’s the kind of player Ben is.
“We can count on two hands the amount of times he’s been hit in the face this season.
“It’s always happened to him; he had his teeth knocked out in training for Man City and it always seems that the ball is hitting him in the face.
“He puts his body on the line - as does the rest of the back four. Tripps was clearing balls off the line as well, and it’s because we don’t like being scored against.
“We do it in training. It’s about putting your body on the line, especially as a defender. You’ve got to be brave and that showed with our run of clean sheets.”
The side are also showing a different type of bravery, in wanting to fulful their manager’s footballing philosophy, even when things go against them.
Eddie Howe wants his players to pass, pass, pass, and Edgar is an advocate: “There’s times to play out. If that’s the philosophy then we need to stick to it.
“I think that’s what the gaffer’s most happy about from the Reading performance because we stuck to it throughout the 90 minutes and we tried to play.
“We will make mistakes, there’s no doubt about it, but that’s the kind of football we want to play and we’re all buying in to it.
“It’s a different kind of bravery but we’ve played some really good stuff out from the back.
“You’ve got to be brave to try it.
“It’s more enjoyable for everyone and it means Jay and Charlie don’t have to be fighting with big centre-halves to win headers.
“Sometimes there are types of games where you have to get the ball forward but it’s more enjoyable to get the ball on the ground and play. It’s much better for the fans to watch as well.”
He added: “We went down after about 15 minutes on Friday but straight after that everybody wanted the ball, we created opportunities and passed it throughout the 90 minutes.
“Even in the last couple of minutes we were still playing out from the back and that’s the manager’s philosophy that he’s built and we’ve stuck to it.
“I made a few mistakes in my earlier games, probably trying to overplay. I just had to get down to basics and defend because that’s first and foremost - defending and keeping clean sheets and protecting our goal.
But with the way we’re trying to play the gaffer wants us, the centre-halves and full-backs, on the ball and playing out from the back so I’m definitely feeling more and more confident doing that with each game.”
Edgar’s confidence and consistency have come from an unbroken run of 32 games in the side.
And he gives central defensive partner Michael Duff huge credit for passing on his experience and knowhow alongside him: “Confidence comes with experience and Duffo has helped with that.
“He’s got loads of experience and he helps me out.
“If I look across and he’s pushing up to the halfway line, he’ll make sure I get up.
“There’s times to play and times not to, but we’re building that philosophy and that’s the way we want to play.
“Duffo has been a massive help to me, giving me pointers along the way.
“His leadership is second to none and it’s brilliant to have him there talking to you.
“He’s definitely helped to make me a better defender and I’ve said that to him. We compliment each other quite well and I really enjoy playing with him.”
The pair’s form hasn’t gone unnoticed either - Edgar will link up with Canada after the game to face Armenia in Cyprus, while Duff is back in the Northern Ireland squad after more than three years as they prepare to face Norway in Belfast.