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Saturday 24 June 2017

Burnley defender Ben Mee determined to win battle with Diego Costa

Sean Dyche believes his Burnley side can test Chelsea on Sunday
Sean Dyche believes his Burnley side can test Chelsea on Sunday

Burnley defender Ben Mee is relishing his battle with Chelsea striker Diego Costa on Sunday - and believes the Clarets' own fighting qualities will be up to the task of taming the Premier League leaders at Turf Moor.

Mee, who has played a crucial role in the Burnley back-line this season, is a big fan of Costa who he acknowledged presents a serious threat to his side's hope of claiming an improbable eighth consecutive home win.

Mee said: "I think he is one of those players who will put himself about as well as having the quality and I don't think he gets as much credit as some of the other players for having that quality.

"I like that he's got that edge about him, and you wouldn't want to take that away. He's one of those you really want on your team fighting for everything for the group of lads he plays for.

"It's all about getting the best of the striker you're up against. Sunday is going to be a good test and I want to be the one who comes out on top."

Burnley were beaten 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in August but are now bulging with confidence thanks to their stunning home form which has lifted them to the brink of top-flight survival.

And despite seemingly soaring towards regaining their Premier League title, Mee believes the improvements at Turf Moor will not have gone unnoticed among Antonio Conte's travelling squad.

Mee added: "I think they'll have seen teams come to our place and get beaten or have tough games and probably sit up and take notice. We are a different proposition to the other teams around us in the league and we take pride in that for sure.

"I don't think there was any expectation on us from the outside at the beginning of the season, so that allowed us to play with no pressure. But inside we expected to do well and we expect to still be in this league next year."

Burnley's options have been boosted by the January signings of Robbie Brady and Ashley Westwood, both of whom could make their full debuts after appearing as substitutes in last week's 2-1 defeat at Watford.

Jeff Hendrick starts his three-game suspension after his red card at Vicarage Road, while Steven Defour and Dean Marney are still both ruled out.

Boss Sean Dyche said Chelsea's improvement under Conte had come as no surprise - but hailed the Italian for the speed with which he has moulded his team into champions-elect.

Dyche said: " They're a fine side but they were before really. Even with Conte and his experience it takes time to get the players to adapt and know what he wants from them, and they've done that now.

"Every game is a test in the Premier League but (Chelsea) are so strong at the moment that it is probably the biggest challenge we've had. They are top of the league for a reason."

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