STEVEN Defour insists he will be raring to go for pre-season as he continues his recovery from injury - and the Clarets midfielder is confident Burnley can enjoy another successful campaign in 2018-19.

The Belgian, whose knee injury picked up in January ruled him out of this summer's World Cup, believes Sean Dyche's side have the quality to progress to the Europa League group stage when they make their first appearance in a European competition for 51 years next month.

Defour, who was an ever-present in a breakout second season at Turf Moor until injury struck, said: "I’m really motivated because I feel like I’ve been too long on the sidelines, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“Since I’ve been here we’ve done nothing but improving and I hope we can do the same next year.

“It doesn’t mean ending higher than seventh position. If every individual can do better than last year, I’m sure we’ll have a great year again.

“The quality is there. I think the team looks good for next year.”

The 30-year-old, who has made 49 appearances for the Clarets since joining in 2016, has plenty of European experience having played in the Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Cup during a career that has seen him play for Belgian sides Standard Liege and Anderlecht as well as Portuguese giants FC Porto.

And he is confident Burnley can

"Now we have the Europa League which is nice, especially for the fans. I hope we can reach the group stage," the midfielder told the club's official website.

“Then you show you are in Europe until December, which is something to look forward to, especially for the fans to travel around Europe.

“We are already playing in the best league in the world so we have the level you need to perform in the Europa League, so I think we will be all right."

Defour was pleased with his own form last term, after a difficult first season in East Lancashire when he struggled to command a regular starting spot.

The Belgian was a key man for the Clarets in 2018-19, scoring a super free kick in a draw with Manchester United and producing eye-catching displays in the middle of the park.

And he was pleased to produce more consistent performances.

He added: “The year before I think everybody saw what I was capable of but didn’t see it always and on a regular basis.

“This season they saw it and they enjoyed it. I enjoyed it and I think I proved a lot of people who were having doubts wrong.

“It’s a different story now and that’s why a pre-season is so important and I want to be fit for pre-season.

“That’s a major part of how your season will go."