Burnley winger Gudmundsson sets sights on group stage of Europa League
Clarets winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson admits it won't feel like Burnley are part of the Europa League unless they make the group stages.
Burnley host Istanbul BaÅŸakÅŸehir tonight at Turf Moor in the second leg of their third qualifying round tie, with Olympiakos likely to be in wait in the play-off round, for the right to line up in the group phase.
Gudmundsson has Europa League experience with AZ Alkmaar, with his three appearances with Burnley so far taking him to 40 in European competition, with nine goals.
It will be a tough route to the group stages if Burnley are to make it, having arguably been handed the toughest draws they could have had so far, having beaten Aberdeen in the second qualifying round, but Gudmundsson said: “It’s six Thursday’s in a row we’ll gave to play to get to the group stage so it’s going to be tough.
“When you get to the group stage you feel you’re really in the competition.
”As for every player in this group, we want to get to the group stage because that’s the real competition.
“We’ve had it tough, it’s going to be a really good achievement if we get to the group stages.
”Aberdeen were a tough side, this team is a tough side and then Olympiakos are likely to be next, so it’s a tough pathway for us.”
For Burnley, just playing continental football, 51 years since their last experience, is an achievement, and the Iceland wideman doesn’t see why the Clarets can’t combine progression in the Europa League with good form in the Premier League: “The teams in the Champions League do it and they do it quite well. It’s still two games in a week.
“We want to try and do the same. I think the English people don’t really rate the competition, but as players we want to be in it and play as many games as you possibly can, the more games you play the better you’re doing.
“We want to be part of the fantastic history of this club. We’ve been doing that over the last few seasons, with seventh place last year and going into the Europa League it’s something we want to be a part of.
“You want to play in these competitions, I’ve played in the Euros, World Cup and Europa League now, we’ve just got to win the Europa League to get in the Champions League!”
Burnley have a slight advantage tonight after a goalless first leg in Turkey, but conceding an away goal could be a problem for the Clarets: “We’re quite good at the back, we don’t let many goals in. If you let one in at home it’s tougher, we know that, so we’ve got to be extra careful.”