"When we're on a run like this we're a difficult team to stop," says Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood

With Burnley back in contention for a second top 10 finish in three seasons in the Premier League, midfielder Ashley Westwood believes that the only way is up.

Burnley's Ashley Westwood and former Clarets striker Danny Ings at St Mary's
Burnley's Ashley Westwood and former Clarets striker Danny Ings at St Mary's

Depending on the outcome of Manchester City's appeal to the court of arbitration for sport - following the European ban that was imposed on the club - the Clarets could even be left challenging for a place in the Europa League.

If City's punishment isn't overturned then the top flight's fifth-placed team would be in line to qualify for the Champions League, should Pep Guardiola's side finish the season in the top four.

And, as a consequence, that could open up the door for the division's eighth-placed finishers to land a spot in the competition that was won by Chelsea last term.

The Clarets, now 11th and level on points with Arsenal two-thirds of the way into the season, are just two points off the pace as things stand.

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In fact, having accumulated 10 points from the last four games, Sean Dyche's men are now closer to the top four than they are to the bottom three.

Westwood insists that the squad won't be getting carried away following victory over Southampton at St Mary's, but he said: "It's not always about playing pretty football, it's about getting results. I think we're the best at it and we dealt with the conditions better and got the three points.

"We've been on a great run recently on the back of three tough games. It was a big one today and we knew if we could win it we could start looking up again. That's what we're going to do now.

"We won't get too carried away, but we are looking up. We thoroughly enjoyed the last Europa League run we went on, though it wasn't meant to be, and if we can get there again it would be some achievement.

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"When we're on a run like this we're a difficult team to stop."

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old former Aston Villa midfielder feels that Matej Vydra's winner against the Saints at the weekend will challenge Jay Rodriguez's hit at Old Trafford for the goal-of-the-season accolade.

The Czech forward bagged his first goal in 17 months on the South Coast after collecting Jeff Hendrick's pass on bis chest and thumping the ball past Alex McCarthy on the hour.

"You've got the likes of Vyds coming off the bench and I'm absolutely made up for him," said Westwood. "He's had to bide his time, but he hits class strikes like that in training. It's no surprise to us and we're absolutely delighted for him.

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"It's a unique group and whoever comes into it is always welcomed. Vyds has had to bide his time, but he works hard and it's paying him back now.

"It's an unbelievable goal and a great ball from Jeff [Hendrick]. The way he's spun it round then chipped it over and found the top corner with his left foot - it's a special goal. That will run Jay Rod close for goal of the season I'm sure."

Last season's recipient of the Player of the Year award opened the scoring with the club's fastest ever goal in the Premier League.

He scored directly from a corner for the second successive season in the second minute to get the visitors off to the perfect start.

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Westwood said: "I did it at Liverpool and I'll thank the wind for that one. It's a [Storm] Dennis assist.

"I knew it was my goal straight away, but [Ben] Mee's tried to take it. I could see it was over the line straight away. You're just never too sure with VAR. I'm buzzing.

"It's a big weapon for us. Me and Dwight [McNeil] aim to get it in the goal without a bounce after training on a Friday. It's a bit of fun we have, but it's a real weapon for us."