Clarets defender Tarkowski delighted to make first start

James Tarkowski was a happy man after helping Burnley claim their first away win of the season on his first Premier League start.

Wednesday, 3rd May 2017, 11:27 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:34 pm
Crystal Palace's Wayne Hennessey battles for possession with James Tarkowski

Tarkowski has had to be patient, with Ben Mee and Michael Keane ever-present at centre back in the league.

But, with Mee nursing a shin problem, the former Oldham Athletic and Brentford man got the nod at Selhurst Park on Saturday, and shone as he helped keep Crystal Palace and the in-form Christian Benteke at bay.

He got a whack from the Belgian, earning the striker a yellow card, and was hit by a lighter from the home crowd celebrating Ashley Barnes’ opener.

James Tarkowski battles for possession with Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke

But Tarkowski said: “It was a good performance.

“In the first half we had quite a few passes and a few crosses, but it was a real solid performance away from home which is what we needed.

“It was a good solid performance against a team that has been going quite well.”

Breaking the away duck at the 18th attempt was also a relief: “Yeah, a little bit.

James Tarkowski battles for possession with Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke

“It’s been strange, we’ve been putting in good performances away from home but not always getting the rewards, then at home we’ve not always played our best but still picking up points.

“We’ve not really though about it that much.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings but we get on with what we do.

“We know what we do well, we work hard at it and you get rewarded at some point.

“We had to wait a while for it but we got there in the end.”

It was nice to get that away win, but it is all about staying in the Premier League, however that is achieved: “Our main priority was staying up.

“We could win every home game and lose every away game and still stay up.

“You want to get an away win though, especially for the fans who pay week in and week out and travel to see the matches, so it was nice to do it.”

It shows how strong Burnley’s home form has been that they look likely to survive with only one away win to their name so far, with one more trip to Bournemouth to come.

Tarkowski admitted: “We’ve been outstanding at home.

“I think only two teams have really deserved to go away with anything, other teams have come and picked up points but not deserved it as much.

“It’s been a good season for it.”

Tarkowski had spent more time on the bench this season than anyone in the top five leagues in Europe, so he was delighted to finally start: “It was nice.

“It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been coming on here and there this season and playing in midfield.

“It’s nice to get the start and hopefully I’ll get a few more.

“Yeah, a few people sent the stat over to me.

“In one way I’ve been there throughout the season, some people would have been injured, so that’s nice, but obviously it’s nicer to be on the pitch rather than the bench.”