SUMMER signing Matt Taylor has declared Burnley’s dressing room bond the best he has been involved with, and believes they can use their togetherness to their advantage in the Premier League.
The 32-year-old former Portsmouth and Bolton midfielder is set for his 12th consecutive top flight season after joining the Clarets on a free transfer from West Ham United.
And he admits he is not fazed by the bookmakers tipping his new club for an immediate return to the Championship. For he believes what the club lack in financial clout compared to their Premier League peers, they make up for in team spirit, and he feels that can take them a long way this season.
“I’m really looking forward to the coming season. It’s one that we can look on with huge optimism,” said Taylor.
“Obviously everybody is going to write us off as a club and as individuals but we’ve got a great collective spirit.
“I saw it from watching games last season. There are a great bunch of lads here.
“I believe we’re in for a positive season.
“There are no cliques within the squad. It’s probably the best dressing room I’ve been in, in terms of camaraderie.
“There’s a great understanding of each other and a great respect for each other and that’s a big thing within football nowadays.
“That word’s used a bit flippantly, but there’s a good respect between the players.
“If you can earn each other’s respect, especially the respect if your peers, you’ve got half a chance.
“I think we’ll be okay this year.”
Taylor’s wealth of top flight experience was one of the reasons he was earmarked as a transfer target by Burnley boss Sean Dyche.
But he says he has not yet felt the need to take on the role of mentor for the club’s younger players.
“Not really, I don’t think there’s a huge amount of that needed. The boys here are really level-headed,” said Taylor, who is encouraging the Clarets to make Turf Moor another factor to work in their favour against English football’s elite.
“I probably liken the football club to when we got promoted with Portsmouth,” he added.
“The ground itself is an older style ground like here, their changing rooms for the away teams aren't wonderful.
“It’s got that feel about it.
“The ball goes out for a goal kick and you can hear what the fans are saying to you.
“You are close to the fans. That was something we turned into a positive for us, because we loved playing there, we had 18,000-19,000 fans behind us screaming for us.
“People didn’t like going there. They don’t like it when they arrive, the changing rooms aren’t as nice as they’re used to, there aren’t as many away fans as there normally are, maybe things aren’t quite as prim and proper as they’re used to, and we turned that into something that was a real game changer for us at Portsmouth.
“I believe we’ve got the opportunity to do that here.
“That’s not gamesmanship or anything, that’s just genuinely the reality of it.
“Playing here isn’t going to be like going to Old Trafford and that’s the reality of it.
“We can’t get away from that, so any little thing that we can maybe turn in our favour, great.”