Video: Matt Taylor ready for Chelsea ‘baptism of fire’

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Matt Taylor feels the Clarets can use Turf Moor to their advantage this season against players more used to palatial surroundings.

The midfielder, signed on a free transfer from West Ham in the summer, has yet to be relegated in 11 seasons in the Premier League with Portsmouth, Bolton and the Hammers.

Matt Taylor battles for the ball.

Matt Taylor battles for the ball.

And he likens Burnley to that stint with Pompey, with whom he was promoted to the top flight under Harry Redknapp in 2003.

Portsmouth spent seven years in the Premier League before financial excesses caught up with them, but Taylor points to Fratton Park as a major factor in their success.

The Turf is a similarly traditional ground, albeit spruced up for the big time, but the 32-year-old said: “I probably liken the football club to when we got promoted with Portsmouth.

“The ground itself is an older style ground like here, the changing rooms for the away teams aren’t wonderful.

“It’s got that feel about it.

“The ball goes out for a goal kick and you can hear what the fans are saying to you.

“You are close to the fans.

“That was something we turned into a positive for us, because we loved playing there, we had 18,000-19,000 fans behind us screaming for us.

“People didn’t like going there. They don’t like it when they arrive, there aren’t as many away fans as there normally are, maybe things aren’t quite as prim and proper as they’re used to, and we turned that into something that was a real game changer for us at Portsmouth.

“I believe we’ve got the opportunity to do that here.

“That’s not gamesmanship or anything, that’s just genuinely the reality of it.

“Playing here isn’t going to be like going to Old Trafford and that’s the reality of it. We can’t get away from that, so any little thing that we can maybe turn in our favour, great.”

Taylor has also been encouraged by what he has seen from his new teammates in pre-season: “I believe from working here long enough that we’re going to play a really good passing game this year.

“We’re going to be big underdogs going into most games, but only underdogs in everybody else’s eyes.

“Obviously we believe we can succeed this season, we believe we can have a positive season and a positive season for us will obviously be staying in the league, as it will be with maybe from 10th position downwards as it has been in the last two or three years. It’s been quite tight at the bottom.

“There’s no reason why we can’t make sure we have a good season and stay in the league. But to do that we’ll take every game as it comes because you can get caught up in things too much, too easily, particularly in the Premier League because it can have a tendency to bite you on the bum. You can get punished very quickly in this league,

it’s ruthless. You make a bad decision and you’re punished. We need to make sure we make more good decisions than bad ones.”

Chelsea at home on Monday night represents as tough an opener as Burnley could have asked for, but Taylor sees no reason why the Clarets can’t get off to a good start: “It’s a huge, huge ask for us to try to win that game, but were at home, we have to play everybody once at home and once away, there are 38 games in this league. I know it’s a cliche but they are 38 cup finals.

“I don’t believe you can go into a Premier League season and pinpoint games where you’re going to pick up points, so every game will be tough. The margins between victory and defeat are so small nowadays we need to use everything we can to our favour.

“Chelsea’s a great way to start the season. Obviously it’s a baptism of fire, it’s on really, everyone will be expecting to come in from work and see us lose, but hopefully we can upset a few people.

“I’m really looking forward to the season. It’s one that we can look on with huge optimism.”

Here Matt Taylor talks about how he’s fitting in at Turf Moor