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Burnley keeper Tom Heaton believes team's defence will only get better
TOM Heaton believes Burnley are showing signs of being hard to beat this season.
The Clarets recorded their first clean sheet in the Championship with a first home win over Yeovil Town last weekend, the result stretching their unbeaten start to the season to four games.
And Heaton says the defence is looking strong enough to sustain it and make Saturday’s shut-out the first of many.
“It feels solid at the minute. You don’t want to talk too soon in football but it’s felt solid in the games so far. We need to make sure we do the right things but certainly so far it has had that solid feel to it,” said the 27-year-old, who highlighted a battling 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday as a case in point.
“At the end of the game, when the final whistle went and it’s been backs to the wall for 45 minutes it was a great feeling that you’d stood up to it and got three points. Yes we conceded but we stood up to the challenge and you can’t script things like that. It was a great feeling and one we’re going to use going forward.
"When the league's so tight it's small things that make a big difference, things like team spirit and mentality and atmosphere around the place have a big impact on results and over a season it makes a huge impact. Everything's positive at the minute, we need to keep that going and hopefully it will stand us in good stead.”
Heaton experienced the opposite end of the spectrum last season, resulting in relegation with Bristol City.
The Robins finished bottom, 14 points adrift of safety after suffering 27 defeats.
Out of their 46 Championship games they conceded 84 goals - the most in the division, 11 goals more than the second most porous defence Peterborough - and Heaton was in goal for all bar three of those fixtures.
Heaton insists the experience made his stronger. But with team-mates already showing a willingness to put their bodies on the line he has no fears of a repeat performance this season.
"Last season for me was tough in terms of conceding a lot of goals,” he said.
“The difference between that and this season has been great - people heading, tackling, diving in front of the ball before it gets to me has been fantastic. You can sort of see the unity we've got as a team but as a back four and a defensive unit.”
And Heaton his encouraged by their resilience not coming at the expense of their attacking flair.
"There have been a couple of different faces to the team, in the Bolton game we played some really good stuff and it was a solid start with a few flashes of what we're all about,” said the former Cardiff keeper.
"The York (cup) game we played some good stuff at times and then stood up to a physical challenge when they came at us and again against Sheffield Wednesday.
"We perhaps didn't live up to some of the football that we've played so far but we got two goals ahead and against aerial bombardment we stood up to it, defended well and put bodies on the line. You can't buy that. That's the sort of thing that does win you football matches, especially in a division where everything's so tight and games are going to be tight. If you've got a team that can do that and are willing to do that it's always going to stand you in good stead.
“The important thing is that we make sure we keep doing it.”
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