Burnley duo — James Tarkowski and Nick Pope — open up on clear-the-air meetings that helped turn the tide!

James Tarkowski and Nick Pope have revealed all about the clear-the-air get-together that has somehow managed to turn Burnley's season on its head.

By Daniel Black
Monday, 28th February 2022, 4:31 pm

After christening 2022 with a disappointing 3-1 loss at the hands of Leeds United at Elland Road, boss Sean Dyche and his staff were joined by the players for an 'emergency' meeting at Gawthorpe.

The Clarets were rooted to the foot of the division having clocked up one win all term while managing a solitary success at Turf Moor in a calendar year.

Their perils in the Premier League, which had placed the club bottom of the form table last year out of the 92 teams in the Football League, had put their longevity in the top flight at serious risk.

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BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 08: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action with James Tarkowski of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor on February 08, 2022 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

"I think the gaffer has mentioned it, we had a little meeting post Leeds game, we got everyone in a room and had an honest and open discussion about where we thought things were at, what needed to change and everybody got things off their chest," confirmed Tarkowski. "From that point onwards we all got on board with it, which is what we needed to do, because things hadn't been going great for us.

"We've gone back to basics, I think we were trying to over-complicate things a little bit, we just wanted to get everybody pointing in the same direction. Everyone is on board and you can see that with performances recently."

It's not the first time that Burnley have responded positively when assembling off-the-field.

They finished the second half of the 2015-16 campaign unbeaten to win promotion as champions after the squad and staff had the opportunity to get a few things off their chests during an inquest into the 3-0 loss against Hull City at the KC Stadium.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by James Tarkowski of Burnley during the Premier League match between Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur at Turf Moor on February 23, 2022 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Dyche repeated that approach three seasons later, hosting ‘crisis talks’ at an identical point of the season, when Everton had inflicted a heavy defeat on Boxing Day, leaving the Clarets on 12 points at the halfway stage.

And they've now suffered just one setback since losing out to the Whites, amassing 10 points from seven games, which has lifted them off the bottom of the table and plugged the gap on their rivals.

"We've had open meetings where we've discussed our own views, what we think has been going well, what hasn't been going so well, where we can improve," said Pope. "It's like a normal meeting you'd have in any sort of business really, obviously this one is a little bit different.

"It's good that we've got this sort of group, there's a good honesty level where we can talk to each other and discuss how best to go forward. That's what we all want. It's something that we've done in the past and it's no different this season.

"We've been in the Premier League for six years and it's not the first time we've been down there. We've had to scrap it out a couple of times to get over the line so we know what it's all about. Nothing's done yet, but it is important for us to move forward now.

"We've got to take faith from those good performances and carry that forward. What's happened has happened, it's all in the past, it's about the run-in now."