A BETTER points-per-game ratio than before lockdown, and a top half finish secured, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope feels the Clarets were ‘tremendous’ in their final nine games.

Defeat to Brighton the final day ended a seven match unbeaten run for the Clarets who had three goals since the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City on their first match after the re-start.

Pope was within touching of the golden glove, awarded to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets throughout the course of the season, only to be pipped by Manchester City stopper Ederson.

It has been a fine personal season for Pope however, establishing himself as undisputed No.1 at Turf Moor and is now in the conversation to have the same standing at international level with England.

Burnley took 15 points from their nine matches after the re-start, achieving 1.67 points-per-game, a figure which stood at 1.34 pre-lockdown, to secure a 10th-placed finish.

And a delighted Pope said: “Ever since the re-start we have been tremendous.

“Taking that into account, the whole season, the points we’ve got, the performances we’ve put in and we’ve got to be happy.

“It’s been great and I’m immensely proud of everything; in the dressing room, all the staff and the players.

“The amount of effort that has gone in, especially with lockdown and Covid and everything we’ve had to deal with - players leaving - and it’s credit to everyone.”

Pope would have become the first English keeper to win the golden glove award since former Turf Moor team-mate Joe Hart in 2015.

In the end, his tally of 15 was bettered by City’s Ederson, whose shut-out against relegated Norwich City took him to 16.

But to be in contention so deep in to the season was of great pride to the 28-year-old who is 82 appearances in to his Burnley career.

After Tom Heaton’s departure to Aston Villa last summer, Pope was handed the No.1 shirt, and hasn’t looked back, playing every minute of Burnley’s 38 Premier League matches, as well playing England’s 4-0 win in Kosovo last November.

Pope says his team-mates deserve great credit for the work in front of him, and admits there have been some quality finishes among the 10 goals he conceded after the re-start.

“At the start of the season you don’t set out for that sort of thing. You get to the last weekend and everyone is talking about. It would have been great for it to happen,” he told the club website.

“We have fallen one short but in the grand scheme of things to have 15 (clean sheets) in the league season, you’d take that every time.

“It’s been a massive team effort. As disappointed as we are (after Brighton), it’s something we should definitely be proud of.

“We have conceded some good goals. Andy Robertson’s header (at Liverpool) was one of the best headers I’ve seen and Jimenez’s volley (for Wolves) was unbelievable.

“It’s not been for the want of trying. The lads have been trying every inch, as I knew they would. They have been top-end for me. It just wasn’t meant to be.”

At the other end of the pitch, Jay Rodriguez enjoyed a fine end to the campaign, and would have had 12 goals for the season were it not for a VAR call against Brighton.

But he says an award for Pope would have been a fitting end to the season, and praised the ‘keeper’s displays across to the course of the 38 games.

“We’re all disappointed. We wanted it for him,” he said.

“He’s had a great season, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“Looking back at the season he’s been fantastic all-your round and it’s a pleasure to play with him.”