After Michael Keane's £30 million departure to Everton earlier in the summer, question marks were raised over who would fill the void in Burnley's defence left by the England international. James Tarkowski was the man chosen by his manager at the start of the season but the 24-year old knows he cannot afford any mistakes.
"I have to be at it every game"
Tarkowski featured 19 times in the Premier League last season but only made four starts as Keane forged an uncompromising partnership with Ben Mee. Yet the departure of Keane opened the door for Tarkowski to become a first team regular and the defender explained, “there was an opportunity and I’ve worked hard to try and take that."
However, the former Brentford man is only too aware of the pressure surrounding him. He added "people are going to have question marks over me, saying am I good enough to play at this level? This will be my first real opportunity to prove it".
Tarkowski knows that any mistakes could put his place in doubt. “I have to be at it every game. It’s a difficult league and there are some top players in this league so I’ve got to perform and make sure that I prove I’m the man to be in that position."
Results more important than performance
The Clarets had the ninth best home record in the Premier League last year and they will be looking to achieve the same again this season. Tarkowski explained, "at home last season we picked up some great results. There were a few gritty ones where we held out 1-0 and a few where we scored late goals and showed our character."
Yet the defender is not bothered how Burnley earn their results as long as they gather all three points. “We will take them either way. It will be interesting to get started again this week and hopefully get another positive result.”