Pieters explains Clarets’ high ambitions

Burnley boss Sean Dyche will continue his preparations for the new season when he takes his side to face Fleetwood Town on Tuesday afternoon.

Burnley defender Erik Pieters says the Clarets' ambitions under boss Sean Dyche this season are sky high in the Premier League.

Burnley struggled in the first half of last season as they were weighed down with trying to both qualify for the group stage of the Europa League and also cement their position in the Premier League in the early weeks.

Dyche’s side were in the bottom three and facing a relegation battle at one point but did improve in the second half of the campaign and ended up finishing in 15th place, six points clear of the dropzone.

They will hope to do better this time around and defender Pieters, who joined the Lancashire outfit from Stoke in the summer, says they have ambitions to be competing as high up as possible in the top flight.

Burnley’s best finish in the Premier League was the season before last – they ended up seventh – but repeating such a feat seems a long shot this term although Pieters remains optimistic.

He told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph: “We’ll give it 100 per cent in every single game and pick up as many points as we’re able to. We have to aim for the highest finish possible and we’ve had a good start to the season.

“We’ll recover well and get ready for Arsenal away.”

Dyche’s men were impressive when seeing off Southampton as two goals from Ashley Barnes and a strike from Johann Berg Gudmundsson gave them a comfortable win at Turf Moor to ensure they got off to the perfect start.

Pieters hopes they build on that victory when they head to top-four hopefuls Arsenal.

Pieters, who has 170 Premier League appearances under his belt, got the nod to start the first game of the season but is expected to face a battle with Charlie Taylor for a regular role at left-back. The Dutchman, however, says he’s up to the challenge and wants to do all he can to keep his place.

He added: “I’m not coming here to sit on the bench but I know Charlie had a really good season last year. I’m looking forward to going on and battling it out with him for the position.”

Following the trip to the Emirates to take on the Gunners, Burnley go to Wolves on August 24 before a Carabao Cup second-round home clash with League One Sunderland on August 26 following Tuesday’s draw.