We won't stand still - Clarets skipper

Clarets skipper Tom Heaton insists Burnley won't stand still after retaining their Premier League status with something to spare.

Friday, 19th May 2017, 11:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:40 pm
Tom Heaton

Burnley were widely tipped to be relegated after winning the Championship 12 months to go, but were only in the bottom three once, after the opening weekend.

Indeed, they could finish as high as 11th if results go their way on the final day of the season tomorrow, as they host West Ham, looking for an 11th home win.

Heaton, the club's official Player of the Season, has been as reliable as ever for the club in his fourth season, and he feels the upward movement the club have enjoyed in that time will continue.

Asked if there is any danger of standing still, Heaton said: "No, I don't think so, there's been progress every year since I've been here, we've moved things on, and hopefully once we out the season to bed, we'll look to move things forward again.

"Even when we were relegated (in 2015), we always felt we were building, moving things forward, the infrastructure and the squad moved forward, and we were gearing up to have a successful season the following year.

"We went on to be champions.

"It's a daily thing, we talk about keep pushing the boundaries, trying to squeeze more out of what we do, across the board.

"I think the manager sets that culture, and everyone else follows.

"It's been a recipe for success and I don't see that changing."

In that time, the personnel has changed, and there will be changes again, in and out, you would expect over the summer, but the England international feels the club's identity is the most important thing: "We don't really want to rely on individuals, we have the freedom for individuals to do well, but people come and go, and it's important the DNA or whatever you want to call it, stays the same, and makes it easy for people to come in and do a job.

"I think the way we work here, our biggest strength is the team ethic, that unity.

"We have good individuals, but we've had players injured and suspended, and other players have come in and done fantastically well. We really are a team.

"When players do well, they will be talked about getting moves here, there and everywhere, but that's part and parcel of it.

"Whatever happens, we'll deal with it and keep moving forward."

Survival was no surprise to the captain, or the club as a whole, despite the doubters outside the town, as Burnley secured back to back top flight campaigns for the first time since the mid-1970s: "No. Not really (a surprise), we try not to do too much forecasting, second guessing, we focus on one game at a time, an ethos that has been here under the manager, certainly since I've been here.

"We try not to get distracted by looking forward. We focus on what we want to do and how we're going to go about it, and see where it takes us.

"Inside the four walls here, we have a belief of what we can achieve, in my first season here we were fourth favourites to be relegated and got promoted, which was probably even more of an achievement.

"We have a belief in who we are and what we do, and it's been proved to work. When we get it right, we can be a force to be reckoned with