BEN MEE knows Burnley cannot afford to play catch up again this season.

The Clarets won just one of their opening 10 Premier League games last season before pulling clear of danger to make sure of a sixth straight season in the top flight.

That kicks off at Turf Moor against Brighton on August 14 and skipper Mee has been impressed by how the squad have looked on their return to Barnfield.

“The lads have come back the best I have seen,” Mee told the club.

“Everyone has been putting the work in in the off-season, definitely. Everyone is doing the running and looking really good. That's exciting and we all are raring to go.

“That's definitely a priority to get points under our belts early on and get off to a good start. We don't want to be relying on a good second half of this season.

“We want to get off to a good start and work from there.

“We have got plenty of experience and we are always optimistic, enthusiastic of where we can go in the season and it's no different this season.”

Burnley’s public friendlies begin at League Two Oldham on Saturday, July 24.

Further EFL tests come at Championship sides Blackpool, July 27, and Nottingham Forest, July 31. Sean Dyche’s side are also playing behind closed doors games but Mee admits being in front of fans again is a big incentive for all involved.

“The Euros have given a bit of a taste of having fans back and how much that means," he said.

“Having 3,500 at Turf Moor for the Liverpool game was brilliant and gave us a good buzz.

“I am really excited to start the season and get that first game under way, hopefully all being well and fingers crossed, at a packed Turf Moor.

“Fans behind us at Turf Moor will hopefully bring back that 'tough place to come mentality' and we can use that to our advantage.”