Player of the Year Joey Barton sees no reason why Burnley can’t achieve more than mere survival in the Premier League.
The midfielder – who received his Championship winners’ medal on Tuesday after an administrative error at the civic reception on Monday night – points to the example of the likes of champions Leicester City and Bournemouth, and insists the Clarets should aim high.
Burnley have been relegated in both their previous Premier League campaigns, while Barton himself has gone down three times with Newcastle United and QPR.
And he said: “The hard work starts when you get to the top of one ladder you’re at the bottom of another.
“This football club got promoted and very admirably came out of the league. But I don’t buy into that underdog mentality, I don’t buy into that punching above our weight.
“We go up and you’ve got to earn the right to stay there.
“The gaffer and everybody here has got one eye on controlling the finances, but the financial situation at the club is fantastic, that’s going to get a big boost.
“This is an old cathedral of football, it deserves Premier League football, everyone will say that, but you’ve got to get up there.
“It’s kind of pointless if you go up and have to come straight back down. There’s teams, look at Leicester, Bournemouth, that’s no bigger football club than this, this is a bigger stadium, bigger catchment area, why can’t we go and stay up?”
Burnley have a squad with plenty of Premier League experience this time around, none more so than Barton, and he feels that, and the team’s resilience, will help: “It serves you in any league. A team that never knows when it’s beaten can survive anywhere.
“The reality is there will always be the inevitable ins and outs like there is at every football club. Burnley have a really good record of recruitment, you would back the history of the club investing the money wisely, but that’s all for another day.
“We’ve got to enjoy this because it’s been a collective effort. The powers that be and the gaffer will have one eye on knowing what he needs to do stay there.
“That’s the goal, certainly while I’m in there I’ll be driving a lot harder than for a 15th or 16th placed finish, that’s not what’s about.
“Go up there and give it your best shot, and if you fall short, you fall short. They did that last time around and that’s shown this season because the team was able to use that initiative to bounce back. Statistics are against teams bouncing back at the first attempt, so we’re ahead of the curve.
“The atmosphere and the attitude of that team, that refusal to yield takes you a long way in any sport, this team has got it and we have to protect that very carefully, you can’t buy that.
“The gaffer and the staff and everyone behind the scenes deserve massive credit, some days when you feel a little tired and a little sorry for yourself the whip is cracked on you and we go again. That’s the attitude of the group and it’s taken us back to the Premier League, but we’ve got to stay there now.”