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Cork enjoying Clarets’ climb

Jack Cork is enjoying the feel-good factor at Burnley as the Clarets continue to climb up the Premier League table.

Sean Dyche’s side stretched their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham at Turf Moor, denting the visitors’ title chances.

All the goals came in the second half, with the returning Harry Kane quickly cancelling out Chris Wood’s opener before Ashley Barnes tapped in the winner with seven minutes remaining.

Midfielder Cork told Press Association Sport: “Although we didn’t have a lot of possession, I think we probably deserved the win in the end.

“It was never going to be an easy game but I feel like we limited them to crosses and shots from outside the box for the majority of the game. We had a plan, we stuck to it, and it worked.

“You look at the fixtures and you think games against the big six, anything you get is a big bonus. For us to get three points against them at this stage of the season is huge. There’s just a real good feeling since the start of this calendar year.”

The nadir of a very difficult first half of the season came on Boxing Day when Burnley were beaten 5-1 at home by Everton to leave them stuck in the bottom three.

Since then, they have won five league matches and drawn three, with this performance and result the best of the lot.

Cork believes the Everton horror show was a key moment, saying: “I feel like that was a real hard-hitting thing for us. Playing at home, a game we looked at as one we could have won and we did everything wrong that day.

“I think we realised we all had to change and do stuff differently and work hard otherwise we’d be out of the league. I think everyone registered that at the same time and it’s been great since.”

Key changes have come at both ends of the pitch. Tom Heaton was brought back in goal in place of Joe Hart and has been excellent while Barnes and Wood have scored eight goals between them in the last four games.

“They’ve been great,” said Cork. “They’ve been running, they’ve been battling and fighting, don’t ever look like losing a 50/50. It’s great to have that desire in front of you. It just makes you want to push on and do the running as well.”

Heaton has been so impressive in his first Premier League outings since suffering a serious shoulder injury in September 2017 that he is being tipped for an immediate return to the England squad for next month’s European Championship qualifiers.

He was not unduly busy against Spurs but produced one outstanding save early in the second half to keep out Harry Kane’s 30-yard effort.

Cork admitted he thought Heaton was beaten, saying: “I’ve only seen a few balls hit like that in the game before. He took his time and as soon as he hit it I thought it was going in.

“I’ve watched it back and I think he could have hit it even further in the corner and Tom would have saved it. What he’s done since he came back in, I don’t think there’s many England goalkeepers in better form that him.”

The result lifted Burnley six points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Sunday’s games and within striking distance of the top half, but Cork knows the job is far from done.

He said: “It’s a huge step for us but we’ve got a lot of work to do, it can change in a couple of games, as we’ve shown. Everyone’s still in it really. There’s a lot of football to be played still.”