Heaton: Europe a realistic possibility for Burnley

Burnley have a realistic chance of qualifying for Europe for the first time in more than 50 years, says club captain Tom Heaton.

Published : Apr 19, 2018 12:44 IST

Tom Heaton believes high-flying Burnley can wrap up a successful season by securing European qualification.

Sean Dyche's Clarets host Chelsea in the Premier League on Thursday, seeking a sixth consecutive win that would see them leapfrog Arsenal into sixth place in the table.

But unless struggling Southampton win the FA Cup, finishing seventh would be enough to send Burnley into Europe for the first time in more than 50 years.

"It'd be massive," Clarets captain Heaton told Omnisport on behalf of Know The Score, a campaign uniting football in April to raise awareness of bowel cancer signs and symptoms.

"It's another massive marker.

"It's one of those things that people outside this building will have struggled to have seen coming, but we go into each game looking to get a result.

"We've done that again this season, we've built on that momentum, we've played well, we've got good results, we started well obviously beating the champions [Chelsea] away from home first game of the season and we've kicked on from there, we've played some excellent football to boot.

"To be playing in Europe next year, in the Europa League, would be an incredible feat and one as players we're all excited for. I think playing European football for any player is a big achievement and there's certainly a desire to do it in that dressing room.

"Two points behind Arsenal as we currently stand, obviously we play Chelsea on Thursday, still got Arsenal to play away from home [on May 6], so it's still a realistic possibility.

"To put ourselves in position at the moment, it's certainly a realistic possibility to break into that top six and if we do it's another marker for us and something we're chasing."

Few would have predicted Burnley to be European contenders at the start of the campaign but Heaton - back from six months out with a shoulder injury - says the club's success should not come as a surprise.

"We tend not to try to limit ourselves," Heaton added. "If you set certain markers and if you're not careful and you hit that ceiling, then it can be a ceiling, so we try not to do that.

"We try and have that freedom to kick on, improve, make it a journey, keep improving things develop, progress and see where it takes you and that's what we've done since my time here and that comes from the manager - and it's stood us in great stead so far and this season again.

"Linked with that the one game at a time mentality which is something that rings off the walls in this building from the manager. each week we go about it the same way, we focus on us, we have a healthy respect for the opposition and we build on that really.

"Each week builds and it's taken us to here - and it's been very successful this season."

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