Clarets defender James Tarkowski hails turnaround against Everton after 'toughest' time of his career

Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick celebrates his goal against Everton with Dwight McNeil, Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood
Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick celebrates his goal against Everton with Dwight McNeil, Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood

Burnley have clocked up 40 points in 27 games since centre back James Tarkowski endured one of the 'toughest' moments of his time at Turf Moor.

Last season's 5-1 defeat to Everton was the lowest point of the campaign for the Clarets, it was the heaviest home loss during Sean Dyche's reign, but it was certainly a turning point for the club.

Burnley defender James Tarkowski challenges Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

Burnley defender James Tarkowski challenges Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

Ben Gibson had responded to goals from Yerry Mina, Lucas Digne and Gylfi Sigurdsson before the break, but the French defender, signed from Barcelona, netted again in the second half before Richarlison struck deep in to stoppage time.

Burnley were 18th at the halfway stage, they'd been on the wrong end of results 13 times, conceded 41 goals and had just 12 points.

"It probably was [a turning point]," said Tarkowski. "It was one of the toughest days I've had at Burnley in terms of performances and the way the result went against us.

"Since then we've performed quite consistently and picked up some very good points. The difference in performance from that day to today is massive.

"Fair play to the lads because that was a difficult period for us and to come out of that and turn it around like we have has been really good."

The outcome was somewhat different just over 10 months later, despite 19 players across the two sides featuring in both fixtures.

Jeff Hendrick, who was replaced by Johann Berg Gudmundsson that Boxing Day, scored the only goal of the game to give the home side the three points.

The Clarets are technically 11 games ahead of schedule in comparison to last term having already hit the 12-point mark.

"It was a really good day, tough, and I thought the first half was really close," Tarkowski said. "They had a couple of half chances where we had to get some blocks in.

"The sending off puts it in our favour a little bit, but it's still hard to break teams down. The goal comes from a set-piece, which we work on quite a lot, and that's pleasing, then we just held out. We felt pretty comfortable for the last 20/25 minutes really.

"That's my job [winning everything in defence]. I've got to be there to get blocks in, win headers, be organised and as a back four I think we were really good, including Popey.

"I thought he was brilliant, every time the ball came in to the box he came and claimed it, which makes our job so much easier."

Hendrick's goals have equated to four points so far this season and Tarkowski knows just how valuable the Republic of Ireland midfielder is to the team.

"Ever since he signed here he's scored a lot of important goals for us," he said. "He's scored a lot of goals in a 1-0 or 2-1 and he's an important player for us.

"Sometimes he plays out wide, sometimes he's in the middle, but he doesn't mind as long as he's playing. I think his performance today was terrific."