Burnley defender Ben Mee has challenged himself and his team-mates to clinch European qualification by the end of the season.
The Clarets are currently 11th in the Premier League but are just seven points behind fifth-placed Manchester United with nine matches still to play, and the 30-year-old thinks that a second European campaign in three years is not beyond them.
Speaking to Pendle Today about the possibility of Burnley qualifying for Europe, he said: “It is something we can aim for. It’s within our reach. It’s something we can look at.”
Mee added: “Maybe we can do something really special like we did a couple of years ago. We’ll have positive minds and we’ll look forward to these games. Momentum is a massive thing for any team in the league. If you can win games and get on a little bit of a run you can move right up the table.”
Burnley go into tonight’s clash against Manchester City off the back of a seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, one which was initiated by wins over top five clubs Leicester and Manchester United. [via TransferMarkt]
They are only five points behind Sheffield United in seventh, the position which saw them qualify for the Europa League two years ago, and if Manchester City’s ban from UEFA competitions is upheld, eighth might even be good enough to get into Europe.
Also, after tonight’s game, Burnley have just two more matches against the current top six. One of those is against Liverpool on 11 July, by which stage the Reds could have the title wrapped up and may not be at full strength.
With so many teams competing for the European positions as it is, Burnley would need a very strong finish to the season to climb from 11th to seventh, while the interruption of the season has worked against teams like Sheffield United who had been thriving before it was halted.
Will Burnley be in the Europa League next season?
However, the points deficits that the Clarets would need to make up are not overly massive, and with the realistic threat of relegation long since banished, Mee is right to look up the table. Burnley have earned the right to be ambitious and, with many of the current squad qualifying for Europe in 2018, they should have no inferiority complex about their belief to do so again this year.
Burnley fans, should the team be aiming for a European place given their current proximity to the teams ahead of them? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience