Boyd eyeing top 10 finish for Clarets
Last season, following defeat to Hull City on Boxing Day, the Clarets held a meeting to discuss their ambitions.
The verdict was unanimous. Promotion. That intervention, having lost ground on Championship leaders Derby County, engineered a 23-game unbeaten run culminating in the title.
This term, amid a stretch of eight games without a win across the board, boss Sean Dyche headed another hearing to seek further assurances of his squad’s objectives.
Again, the over-riding opinion was undisputed. And it wasn’t just survival. Midweek match-winner George Boyd revealed that he and his team-mates were targeting a top half finish in the Premier League.
After his 58th minute strike secured a crucial victory over Stoke City at Turf Moor, the winger said: “A few teams are putting wins together but we looked at it and we knew a win would take us a point behind Stoke and they were ninth.
“We’re only looking up and if we can get a top 10 finish it will be fantastic. We’ve taken huge strides since we were last up, it just shows where the club is going.
“Everyone thought we would finish from bottom so just to be five points clear before Tuesday night was huge for us. We’re showing we belong at this level.
“It’s about progressing every year, we were champions last year and we’re beating all sorts of records this year. It’s a club going places.”
The 31-year-old added: “At the start of the season we’d have taken five points clear with seven games to go.
“You have to be a realist and it shows the success of the club that being five points clear wasn’t really good enough.
“As a club we had a meeting about six weeks ago looking at the teams in the bottom half and we feel we can finish top of our mini-league and we feel we’re better than most of the teams at the bottom. We’re on course for that and hopefully we will do that.
“It would be a great statement and something to build on, but first and foremost it’s about staying in the league.”
But while the Clarets have always backed their own ability, regardless of noises being made on the outside, Boyd accepts that beating the Potters helped to ease a few nerves.
“It was a relief, we knew how big tonight was, it eased the whole place,” he said.
“We don’t feel as if we’re in a relegation scrap but it eases everyone, the fans as well, there was a bit of tension tonight and a bit nervy, it’s a huge win.”
Boyd’s finish from Jeff Hendrick’s craft earned Burnley a 10th league win of the campaign on home soil and helped eclipse the points tally from their last voyage in the top flight.
The former Tiger, who hadn’t scored since the 3-2 win over Bournemouth in December, was delighted to get back in among the goals.
“It was great from Jeff,” he said. “He’s really good at ghosting past players and it was a good cut back.
“I pride myself on scoring goals so it was nice to score and hopefully there will be a few more between now and the end of the season. It’s nice to score, it always is in the Premier League.”