JAMES Tarkowski is eyeing up the Europa League group stages and insists Burnley’s aren’t going to Athens just to enjoy themselves this week.

After edging past Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir in extra-time the Clarets now face Greek giants Olympiakos, with the winners earning a place in the Europa League group stages.

That remains the aim for Burnley and Tarkowski believes it would be a significant achievement should they get there, given the draw has not been kind to the Clarets.

“It would be great because we’ve already beaten two tough sides,” the 25-year-old said.

“We’ve not got an easy draw again because Olympiakos have been around European football for years, mainly in the Champions League, so it’ll be a great experience to go out there and keep showing what we’re about.

“This tie can only help us going forward. We finished seventh in the Premier League for a reason so we’re not just going out there to enjoy ourselves. We want to progress in this competition.”

Burnley have certainly done it the hard way so far. They needed the extra 30 minutes at Turf Moor to see off Aberdeen and Basaksehir, which were on paper the two toughest ties they could have been handed at that stage.

Now they face a trip to Greece to play a side that had been domestic champions for seven successive years, until they slipped to third last season.

But failing at the final hurdle would be a ‘waste’, believes Tarkowski.

He added: “We want to continue the journey. It’s not going to be easy, it’s going to be tough at times, but we want to effect it and show what we’re about on a bigger stage.

“It would be a bit of a waste now if we didn’t make it after getting through the first two and going to extra-time twice.”

The qualification process has been an intense one for the Clarets.

By the end of the second leg against Olympiakos at Turf Moor next Thursday they will have played on six successive Thursday nights.

After the trip to Istanbul they were at Southampton within 72 hours and it will be a similar story this week.

On Thursday they face Olympiakos at the Karaiskakis Stadium at 9pm local time, 7pm in the UK, before returning to Manchester ahead of a trip to Fulham on Sunday.

But while Tarkowski admits it is a difficult start to the season, he insists the squad are going to continue to enjoy the European adventure.

“These first few weeks have been tough because it’s been non-stop,” he added.

“We’ve been on a plane every other week, to Scotland, Turkey and to Southampton. It’s not easy but it’s part of what we’ve got ourselves involved in and we’ve got to enjoy it while we’re in it.”

Tarkowski found himself on the bench for the second leg against Istanbul Basaksehir, coming on for the final seconds of the game to shore up Burnley’s advantage.

He will be part of the squad travelling to Athens and regardless of whether he is involved in the starting line-up he is looking forward to the occasion against a formidable European force.

“It’s going to be another great experience. Not many players get the experience of going over to Olympiakos and playing them in a European game,” the former Brentford defender said.

“We’re not going to go over there to enjoy the day, we’re going over to make an impact.

“We’re looking for a positive result.”