Tarky targets Europa League group stages
James Tarkowski feels that it would be a wasted opportunity if the Clarets fail to progress to the Europa League group stages.
Burnley face a straight shoot-out with Greek outfit Olympiakos to reach that stage with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Lazio, Villarreal, Bayer Leverkusen and Eintracht Frankfurt, who they met in the quarter-final of the Fairs Cup in 1967, already waiting on the other side.
Sean Dyche’s side have already seen off Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir to advance to the competition’s play-off, going through extra-time twice at Turf Moor, and Tarkowski doesn’t want all that hard work to count for nothing.
“It would be a bit of a waste now if we didn’t make it after getting through the first two and going to extra-time twice,” he said.
“We want to continue the journey. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough at times, but we want to effect it and show what we’re about on a bigger stage.
“It’s going to be another great experience. Not many get the experience of going over to Olympiakos and playing them in a European game. We’re not going to go over there to enjoy the day, we’re going over to make an impact. We’re looking for a positive result.
“It would be great because we’ve already beaten two tough sides. We’ve not got an easy draw again because Olympiakos have been around European football for years, mainly in the Champions League, so it’ll be a great experience to go out there and keep showing what we’re about.
“This tie can only help us going forward. We finished seventh in the Premier League for a reason so we’re not just going out there to enjoy ourselves. We want to progress in this competition.”
The England international, who made his Three Lions debut in the 1-1 draw against Italy at Wembley in March, scored his first goal for the club in defeat to Watford in the Premier League, his 66th appearance for the club in all competitions.
And the 25-year-old was proud to finally get off the mark, even though it may have taken him by surprised. After heading Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s corner past Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster, he said: “It’s been a long time coming for me, I’ve been here nearly three years and hadn’t scored.
“I’d like to get on the end of a few more and score a couple more to help out the forward lads. The lads said that I looked a bit surprised when I scored, which I was to be honest.
“You always want to score; the biggest part of playing football is scoring goals but the team is the most important thing right now.
“Defending is what I’ll concentrate on most rather than scoring goals.”