Clarets are exceeding expectations, says Jack Cork

Jack Cork admits Burnley are exceeding expectations.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 11:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 11:35 am
Burnleys Jack Cork closes down Brighton & Hove Albions Isaiah Brown

But he isn’t looking any further than hitting the 40-point mark which usually guarantees Premier League safety.

Cork recently revealed the Clarets had a mini-target of 30 points by the end of the year, which they achieved in midweek with the 1-0 win over Stoke.

Saturday’s goal-less draw at Brighton took them to 32, with three more fixtures to come before the turn of the year.

On Saturday they host Spurs, sitting sixth, a point above Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

They then go to Old Trafford with Manchester United currently six points better off, before travelling to Huddersfield Town.

Cork, recently capped by England, said: “It’s not what we thought we’d be involved in at the start of the season, but we don’t want to get carried away.

“At the minute our main goal is to get to 40 points, and if we can get that, then we’ll look at setting some new targets and go from there.

Jack Cork and Anthony Knockeart tangle for the ball

“If we can get to 40 points quite quickly, then it would be a shame if we couldn’t add to the good start that we’ve had.”

Burnley were again tipped to struggle by several pundits, especially after the sales of Michael Keane and Andre Gray, and Cork is enjoying proving people wrong: “We all saw that (press predicting Clarets in bottom three).

“I remember seeing it with Huddersfield and Brighton as well.

“It gives you a little bit of extra motivation when you hear things like that.

Jack Cork skips away from Brighton's Anthony Knockeart

“You have it in your mind to prove people wrong, and I’ve been at teams before where it’s been the same kind of thing. It is good and it gives you that bit of extra motivation in games.”

But is qualifying for Europe a realistic ambition going forward?: “We’ll keep going and we keep getting results and pulling them out.

“We’ve got that momentum where we’re getting results. I don’t want to say how far we can go, because it’s the Premier League, but we have got the quality.

“If you hit one or two bad results, then you can get in to a bad run, so we don’t want to get carried away and brought back down to earth.

Jack Cork and Anthony Knockeart tangle for the ball

“I don’t want to say anything too soon, but 40 points will always be our main aim, and if we’ve still got three or four months left once we’ve done that, then we can start setting some new targets from there.”

Leicester have inspired the clubs outside the traditional ‘big six’, having defied 5,000-1 odds to win the Premier League in 2016, but Cork said: “What Leicester did was exceptional, it was a one-off. I’m not sure that will ever be done again to that standard. To go against the grain and to prove a lot of people wrong, competing against teams with higher budgets and higher expectations, it’s good to prove that the smaller teams can get in and amongst it.”

Jack Cork skips away from Brighton's Anthony Knockeart