Burnley pulled out of the relegation zone with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa on Thursday, keeping their Premier League survival in their own hands as the season comes to a close.
Burnley striker Ashley Barnes’ calm penalty and many excellent stops by goalie Nick Pope won Mike Jackson’s team an important point in their survival struggle, propelling them to 17th in the standings with 35 points.
Burnley would escape relegation if they beat Newcastle United at home on Sunday, regardless of what 18th-placed Leeds United did at Brentford. Both teams have the same number of points, but Burnley has a far better goal difference.
“The mission has not been completed. The very least we want was a point. “We’re upset not to earn three points,” Burnley interim manager Mike Jackson told the BBC.
“Everything I’ve seen tonight is typical of this bunch.” They’ve got to dig deep and work hard. On Sunday, we’ll need it again.”
In the 17th minute, Villa midfielder John McGinn almost opened the scoring with a looping drive from the outside of the box, but Pope clawed the ball away.
Barnes put Burnley ahead shortly before halftime, sending Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez the wrong way with a low penalty into the corner after Emiliano Buendia fouled Maxwel Cornet.
However, the visitors’ advantage did not last long as Buendia made up for giving the penalty in the 48th minute with a fantastic first-time strike from within the area.
Martinez spectacularly saved a long-range goal from Burnley midfielder Josh Brownhill, who later blocked a close-range attempt from Connor Roberts five minutes from time.
Villa controlled the latter stages, and Pope saved brilliantly in stoppage time to deny striker Danny Ings, who had scored in each of his four previous Premier League games against Burnley.
“Nick Pope is becoming better and better,” Jackson remarked of his goalkeeper, who made the joint-most saves in a single Premier League game.
“He’s playing beyond his comfort zone. He’s been incredible for us.”
Villa, who have won only two of their previous ten Premier League games, stayed 14th.
“Honours are even due to Nick Pope.” He was fantastic. “He’s contributed to his side getting a point,” Villa manager Steven Gerrard remarked.
“This club cannot finish 14th again in the future.” We must make changes in order to return better and stronger the next season.
“Their goalie is definitely their best player, but we need to improve.” We need greater quality and responses.”