Clarets captain Jason Shackell believes that the principles and philosophies that brought success in the Championship will prove conducive to survival in England’s top tier.
Burnley are the bookies’ favourites to finish at the foot of the Premier League table come the season’s conclusion in May and have inherited odds as wide as 9/1 to beat Chelsea at Turf Moor in their opening fixture on Monday.
But the skipper refuses to be distracted by the numbers, and won’t allow the pessimistic premonitions of pundits stain his second stab at the top level.
He said: “That was huge for us last year (the power and strength of the group). Our squad hasn’t really grown in numbers, it’s still quite a small group but the gaffer has drummed in that togetherness.
“The players have really bought in to it and that’s going to be key for us this year. We need to stay together through the ups and the downs and hopefully that will turn things in to a positive for us.
“It’s very clichéd but our mantra last season was to take it one game at a time. I think it’ll be very much the same. We’re confident in the group we’ve got, we work hard, we’re organised and we know what we’re capable of. We don’t want to go away from what worked for us last year so we want to replicate that.”
Despite the gulf in finances and stature, Shackell knows Chelsea won’t be in for an easy ride in front of the Sky cameras. Jose Mourinho’s spending this summer has dwarfed what Burnley have invested in transfer fees in the club’s entire history.
The “Special One” has lavished a purported £85m. on players with Atletico Madrid pair Diego Costa and Filipe Luis arriving at Stamford Bridge along with Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas and Hajduk Split’s Mario Pasalic - though the Croatian midfielder was loaned out to Elche in Spain. Mourinho also handed striker Didier Drogba a return.
In comparison, the Clarets have parted with £4.25m on fees for Lukas Jutkiewicz, Michael Kightly and Marvin Sordell, while bolstering the squad with the captures of Matt Gilks, Matt Taylor and Steven Reid on frees.
“They’ve obviously thought they didn’t want to go too crazy (with money),” said Shackell. “That’s probably the right way. We’ve got some very good players here. That togetherness is really powerful for us and that will remain this year.
“The gaffer hasn’t taken it easy on us and we’ve been working hard this summer. We’ve had some tough, competitive friendlies as well so we’re getting our eye on Chelsea now. We know it’s edging closer and I’m really excited and looking forward to the challenge.”
Shackell, who was on the receiving end of a 4-1 hiding against his boyhood heroes Arsenal at Highbury on his last Premier League voyage with Norwich City in 2004/05, with Thierry Henry bagging a hat-trick, added: “You’ve got to play them at some point so why not get your teeth stuck straight in to them. They’ve got some of the best players
in the league so I’m thoroughly looking forward to it.
“We carried the momentum all the way through last year. They say winning and becoming hard to beat becomes a habit and we’re still very much in that mindset so hopefully that will help us come the start of the season.”
Watch Jason Shackell talk about the togetherness of the Clarets squad -