Defender James Tarkowski is keen to build on Burnley's solid base

Burnley's James Tarkowski with goalkeeper Nick Pope
Burnley's James Tarkowski with goalkeeper Nick Pope

Burnley’s format may be simple, but centre back James Tarkowski insists that it’s one that’s proven to be effective.

So far this season only unbeaten leaders Liverpool (11) have kept more clean sheets in the Premier League than Burnley, with newly-promoted Sheffield United level on nine.

Having shut Arsenal out at Turf Moor prior to the winter break, Tarkowski said: “I thought Ben Mee was terrific [against Arsenal] with the amount of times he cleared the ball from the box. Our job is to give Popey as little to do as possible, which we did most of the time.

“It’s nice as a defence to pick up clean sheets and we want to keep doing that because then it gives us a chance to go on and win more games. The gaffer is big on that, he wants us to build from a good base. That’s obviously done by keeping clean sheets so we want to keep doing that and I think we’ve looked really solid.”

He added: “You’re always going to give the odd chance away against sides like Arsenal, but then we’ve got the big guy [Nick Pope] who can pull us out of it.

“I know we are [one of the best defences] according to the stats. I know there have been games where we’ve conceded a few, but to have nine clean sheets is nice.

“I think we’ve got a good base from back to front, it’s a simple format but we all know what we’re doing. That helps you to defend well and it keeps chances against you to a minimum.”

The Clarets have been able to turn things around in recent weeks having been dragged perilously close to the relegation zone.

But even during a run when Burnley lost seven games from nine, Tarkowski knew they weren’t far away from altering their course: “It’s a big thing that the gaffer says here: ‘you’re never too far away’. We went to Chelsea and got beat 3-0 but it could have been a lot closer.

“We were 1-0 down at Leicester and luckily we get back into it from there and since then we’ve just seemed to turn it around. The team has been quite consistent as well and that helps a little bit. We were never too far away, we knew that, and it was just a case of picking up results.

“We’ve just got to stay on a roll now because we’ve got some big games coming up against teams around us.”