Burnley defender James Tarkowski urging the Clarets to 'push on' in survival bid

James Tarkowski has urged the Clarets to keep 'pushing on' in their quest to complete the great escape.

By Daniel Black
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 8:18 am

Burnley had been written off in the fight for survival in the Premier League having been cut adrift from safety by an eight-point margin at one stage.But a seven-point week — which brought back-to-back wins over Brighton and Spurs — enabled them to polyfilla the cracks to their immediate rivals, who have been drawn back into a scrap.

A first defeat in four, against Leicester City at Turf Moor, spared Everton the despair of tumbling into the bottom three, but games in hand could still see Sean Dyche's side usurp both Leeds United and Brentford.

Asked by the Burnley Express how staving off the drop would compare to other achievements, given the position they had found themselves in in mid-February, Tarkowski said: "I think it'll be one of those we look back on in years down the line; there have obviously been some bigger achievements given the amount of time we've been in this league.

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LEEDS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Burnley player James Tarkowski is challenged by Leeds player Joe Gelhardt (l) during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Burnley at Elland Road on January 02, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

"Some big teams that have put a lot of money into it have gone down in recent years and we've stuck in this league and done so well, with two top 10 finishes, but we've got to continue that and this season is just as important as any other. We've got to stay in this league!

"From the position we were in, and a few performances we've put in, and the way we've turned it around recently, it's not half a job done, but there is a long way to go."

The complexion of the division has been ever-changing in recent weeks. Newcastle United have picked up under Eddie Howe, though the Toffees (one win in nine), Leeds (no win in six with a record 20 goals conceded last month) and the Bees (seven defeats in their last eight) have continued to slide down the division.

Tarkowski said: "Teams around us have been doing well; Newcastle have picked up a lot of points recently, Leeds have had a change of manager and Everton have had a recent change of manager so there are a lot of teams around us who are looking to change as well. We've got to keep pushing on and hopefully we can get another positive result."

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: James Tarkowski of Burnley inspects the pitch with teammates prior to the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park on February 26, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

The Clarets face as tough a test as any when European champions Chelsea come to town tomorrow. The hosts are awaiting news on the extent of Ben Mee's injury, which forced the skipper off against the Foxes.

The 32-year-old centre back would be a big miss should he have to sit out Saturday's fixture, but Tarkowski appreciates that Republic of Ireland defender Nathan Collins is a more than able deputy.

"It's a squad game," Tarkowski said. "I watched it when Nath [Collins] came in against Brighton and he played brilliantly, which he's done in every game he's played this year.

"It can be tough at times coming out of the team like he has, but he's a great professional, he trains well all the time and that shows when he comes into the team."