Clarets winger Lennon fresh for next challenge

Burnley's Aaron Lennon holds off the challenge from Bournemouth's Simon Francis
Burnley's Aaron Lennon holds off the challenge from Bournemouth's Simon Francis

Winger Aaron Lennon says that a break in the domestic calendar has given the Clarets the chance to recharge their batteries.

Despite Burnley picking up seven points from three games before the split for internationals, the 31-year-old suggested that a period of rest and replenishment had come at the right time.

The club, minus the squad members who were on duty with their country, jetted out to Abu Dhabi for a few days, allowing the 600-plus minutes of Europa League involvement, coupled with eight Premier League games and a Carabao Cup tie, to leave their legs.

“We were on a good run of form, picking up seven points from the last three games which was brilliant for us,” said Lennon.

“We had some good sessions here, we put some good work in, which we always do, and we managed to get away, which was lovely.

“Because we’d played so many games at the start of the year it’s worked well for us. I think the break has been good for us, even though we’ve picked up some points recently.

“A few days does a lot for you. The boys, who weren’t involved internationally, managed to get away, a few days in the sun to rest up and recharge. We’re ready to go again.

“We were in Abu Dhabi, it was beautiful. It was a lovely few days in the sun but it’s back to sunny Burnley now.”

Having spent a relaxing few days in the back yard of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour - a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi - Sean Dyche’s side won’t be afforded the opportunity to kick back and unwind at the Etihad tomorrow.

Pep Guardiola’s men have scored 21 times so far this season, with 13 of those on home soil, but Lennon declared that they won’t be intimidated by the champions.

“I think they’re similar to last year, they’re getting in to their rhythm again,” he said. “For me, City, Liverpool and Chelsea are the top three sides in the Premier League now and going away to them is going to be a tough, tough task.

“We’re in good form, we know what we have to do, we’ll go there with a plan and it’s not going to be easy for them.

“We’ve got a great shape here, we’re organised, and you’ve got to look to hit them on the break. I’ve seen a few teams do it this year to them.

“You’ve got to be compact and when you get your chance you’ve got to take it because you won’t get that many.”

In Sergio Aguero the hosts have a striker who has netted more than 200 goals for the club, has scored nine hat-tricks in the top flight and has now entered the Premier League’s top 10 scorers of all time.

Leroy Sane (17) and Kevin De Bruyne (16) have also created the most assists at this level since the start of last season.

City are far from being a one man team but it’s England international Raheem Sterling’s performances that have caught the eye of Lennon.

After watching the 23-year-old score twice against the Spanish in a 3-2 win for the Three Lions in Seville midweek, Lennon said: “I think under the new manager you can see that he’s taken his game to the next level.

“He’s scoring a lot more goals and getting a lot more chances and assists. He’s showing how good a player he is.

“I think if he gets the right support around him he can go on to whatever he wants. He’s a top, top player.

“If you look at last season with the amount of goals he scored, and how important he is, he’s performing in the big games as well.

“He’s got a lot of pressure on his shoulders because he’s still a young lad but he’s getting better and better.”