Chelsea is the ultimate test - Michael Keane

Michael Keane believes that Premier League leaders Chelsea will provide the ultimate test for the Clarets when the two sides meet at Turf Moor.
Clarets defender Michael KeaneClarets defender Michael Keane
Clarets defender Michael Keane

Burnley have one of the most impressive resumes at home in the top flight with only Antonio Conte’s Blues and Tottenham Hotspur bettering the club’s 28-point return.

But the table toppers have been in simply stunning form and are threatening to run away with the title that they lost to Leicester City last season.

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Sunday’s opponents have lost just once in 17 outings across the board and their Italian leader, a former midfielder for Juventus, was rewarded for that sequence with an unprecedented three consecutive Manager of the Month awards.

With Chelsea nine points clear at the top, with 14 games remaining, the England international said: “The league table suggests that it will be (the ultimate test).

“It’s one that we’ll relish, we’ll look forward to it, because these are the games that you want when you’re in the Premier League. We’ve proven that we belong here so far so we just need to keep going and not rest.

“We’re really looking forward to it. They’re flying at the top of the league, they’ve got some world class players, but it’s challenges like that which the team relish especially at Turf Moor in front of our own fans.

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“We’ve been brilliant this year and they’ll know that they’re in for a tough game.”

The five-time champions of England were imperious at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season when goals from Eden Hazard, Willian and Victor Moses sealed a 3-0 win.

“I thought they were the best side earlier in the season, even before they went on this unbelievable run,” he said.

“At Stamford Bridge I thought they were really good, particularly in the first half, and they’ve shown that consistency as well which is why they’re top of the league. There’s no reason why we can’t upset them though.

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“We’re confident of beating anyone. Every time we step out on to that pitch we think we’re going to win, we’re going to beat whoever we play against.

“Chelsea are a different class team to what we’ve played at Turf Moor this season but with that confidence there’s no reason why we can’t go and cause an upset.

“Somebody is hopefully going to do it to make it interesting. There’s no reason why it can’t be us.”

Burnley have kept seven clean sheets on home soil this season, with five of those coming in the last six fixtures, but Keane acknowledges that it’ll be a tough ask to extend that when the division’s second highest scorer, Diego Costa, comes to town.

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“It’s always a tough game against him,” said Keane. “He’s got great movement and he’s aggressive with his runs but we’ve been doing well defensively. Obviously it’s going to be tough because there isn’t just him to focus on. We just need to keep our unit together.”