Burnley cannot ‘write off’ Manchester City clash, says Nick Pope
Nick Pope has stressed Saturday’s clash with Manchester City is not a match relegation-threatened Burnley can “write off”.
With 11 games to go, the Clarets are 19th in the Premier League, four points adrift of 17th-placed Everton.
They play the Toffees at home next Wednesday and rock-bottom Norwich away four days later after hosting table-toppers City, who they have suffered nine successive losses to in all competitions.
Goalkeeper Pope told a press conference: “You want to pick up points every game. Eleven games to go, in the position we are in, it’s not necessarily targeting certain games.
“It’s going into every game, performing that game plan, and putting in good performances to get results when they come.
“Obviously when you play teams around you it is always going to be important. But first of all City is a massive game for us.
“It’s a home game and we can’t just sit back and write it off, that’s something that has not really been our style. (We’ll try to) go out there and use that opportunity to start a good run for ourselves.”
Sean Dyche’s men were beaten only once in seven outings before losing each of their last three games, against Leicester, Chelsea and Brentford.
Asked for his analysis of Burnley’s relegation battle, Pope said: “Of course, the reality is the reality, there’s no hiding from that.
“But we know what we’ve got to do, and we know what we have got – a squad full of leaders, good characters and players who have been in this position before.”
He added: “I think it can only be a good thing – we’ve been in this position before, had to dig ourselves out of a bad start and bad positions and get ourselves over the line.
“We’ve got a really good core group of players who’ve been here before and seen this situation and seen it through to a good outcome. That is what we are after.”
Having been recalled to the England squad last month, Pope played the full duration of Tuesday’s 3-0 friendly win over Ivory Coast at Wembley, his eighth cap and first for a year.
On his hopes of making the squad for the World Cup later this year, Pope said: “There’ll be all players who have been in an England shirt the last year or so looking for the same thing.
“Club form will be what gets you in the squad at the end of the day, so that’s what I think is important for myself from now to the World Cup.
“(Burnley staying up is important) for England – but also for myself and this club. The experience that we have been here before, the drive and determination to get above the dotted line, that’s what everyone’s got. That’s what the challenge is for us, that’s what has been set.”
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