Mee enjoying challenge of the Premier League

Ben Mee celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace
Ben Mee celebrates his goal against Crystal Palace

Clarets defender Ben Mee is thriving on the challenge that a Premier League survival dogfight poses.

The second goal of his senior career 10 days ago against Crystal Palace had temporarily lifted Sean Dyche’s side to 12th in the table but once Dwight Gayle’s brace and Jason Puncheon’s strike swung the pendulum back in the Eagles’ favour they dropped back down to 17th.

Leicester City, QPR and Hull City currently make up the bottom three but only six points separate Nigel Pearson’s Foxes and mid-table Everton, a club that spent £28m on former Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku in the summer.

“It’s very tight down there,” said Mee, who hadn’t scored since September 2012 in a 2-2 draw with Millwall at Turf Moor. “If we’d have won (against Palace) we’d have been right up there. We haven’t but luckily results went our way.

“We’ll be looking to amend that the next time we play to get a result. It’s really tight and there’s everything to play for. It’s great to be involved in the mix.

“That’s the challenge we’ve got and we’re enjoying it. Teams like Villa, Sunderland and Palace who are around us - it’s exciting and we’re definitely looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

After an enforced break due to the FA Cup schedule, the Clarets return to action against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light at the weekend.

Ahead of the clash with the Black Cats - who added Jermain Defoe in the transfer window having won just once in 12 league outings - Mee said: “We’ll be ready for Sunderland. We’ve got a great group of lads and we won’t get too down about it.

“We’ll come back with plenty of character like we do and go again after a nice rest. We’ll start preparing for Sunderland so it doesn’t change anything really.

“It’s usually nice to have a game straight after a defeat so you can try to amend it but it’s given us time to come together as a group again and work out what we’re going to do for next time.

“We’ll just work as hard as we always do ahead of the next game.

“Every game is a big game for us. From the start of the season every game has been massive. All the lads are looking forward to it. We’ll just play how we play and go again. We’ll be ready.”

After enduring the pace and drive of England pair Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha in recent weeks, Mee now faces the potential of tackling another tricky customer in Adam Johnson.

“That’s what this league is about,” he said. “There’s plenty of good wingers in it. All teams play with wingers and they always test you. It’s always nice to pit your wits against these kind of players.”