Belgian ace Defour surprised by quality in Clarets squad

Steven Defour
Steven Defour

Clarets midfielder Steven Defour admits he has been surprised by the quality at Turf Moor.

And he is confident Burnley can upset the odds and retain their Premier League status.

Steven Defour opens the scoring against Hull City

Steven Defour opens the scoring against Hull City

Ahead of last night’s game at West Bromwich Albion, the Belgium international spoke of how he is enjoying life in the north west, after a then-record £7.4m switch from Anderlecht.

He has played a part in helping Burnley register Liverpool’s only League defeat, on his debut, while scoring his first goal in a home draw with Hull City.

Defour missed the goal-less draw at former suitors Manchester United, but returned to help see off Crystal Palace two weeks ago.

Asked about his impressions of his new teammates, Defour said: “I was a little bit surprised because when I was not yet at the club, I got some information. Like the bookmakers said, we were favourites to go down. Then when I saw the way we were performing, I was a little bit surprised that the bookmakers made us favourites.

“We were going to have some difficulties. A lot of difficulties.

“We were going to be a team that needed to fight to stay up. But I am seeing that we handle it very well, that there is real quality to stay up.

“I think we are going to have some difficulties throughout the season, but for the moment, I think we have more than a fair chance of staying up.

“We are looking at it game by game. I think the team believe we can stay up. What other people think outside the club, we don’t really care.”

Defour is one of a growing number of Belgians in the top flight, and his international colleagues are also of the opinion Burnley can stay up, having already enjoyed success against Simon Mignolet’s Liverpool, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas’ Everton and Christian Benteke’s Palace: “When I got into the Premier League, during the first international break, I talked a little bit with all the English-based players.

“They are quite positive about Burnley. Every time, they say: If you continue to play like this, you won’t go down. That gives me a lot of hope.”

Defour has also enjoyed working with Sean Dyche: “(He’s had) quite a big influence, because he was the one who convinced me to come here. Also, on the way the team is playing and performing, he has a big influence.

“He said that I’d get a chance to play in the Premier League, to show myself, and that we have a great opportunity to do something big for the club, which is staying up. There was quite a challenge.”

And the fans have also taken Defour to their hearts, with their chant modelled on the Euro 2016 “don’t take me home” anthem: “It’s really amazing. At the away games, the Burnley fans are really amazing, and at the home games, they sing for 90 minutes. They have given us a nice little push in the back to get the three points every time.”