Man City v Chelsea: Watch huge WSL title showdown on BT SportApr 20 | 2 min read
Erik Pieters looking to get the better of best friend Tim Krul again
Pieters beat Krul to score the winner for Stoke against Newcastle in a 2014 clash.
Erik Pieters is hoping for bragging rights again over best friend Tim Krul when Burnley take on Norwich on Saturday.
The pair have been close since meeting at the Under-17 World Championship in Peru in 2005 when they were both part of the Holland squad and have faced each other several times.
The most memorable for Pieters came in April 2014 when his goal against Krul earned Stoke a 1-0 win over Newcastle.
The Burnley left-back was planning to remind Krul of that ahead of the goalkeeper’s trip to Turf Moor with Norwich.
“I am going to mention my goal against him when he was at Newcastle,” said a grinning Pieters.
“We are really close, we met each other when we were 17 and ever since we have kept in contact and stayed close.
“In the good and bad times we were there for each other and talked through things and I am really pleased that he is first choice there at Norwich and playing really well.”
As much as the pair want each other to do well, Pieters’ priority on Saturday will be on trying to bring his friend down to earth after the high of last weekend’s stunning victory over Manchester City.
“I’m not surprised how they’re playing and winning that game but more by how City approached the game and lost it,” said Pieters.
“That’s the beauty of football, everyone can win against each other so you have to believe you can win every single game.
“We know what they want to do and how they play but the main thing is we play how we want to play and bring the game to them and make sure at the end of 90 minutes that we get the three points.”
Burnley are looking for their first win since the opening day of the season against Southampton.
A tough fixture list has not helped but the Clarets were well short of their best in the second half against Brighton last weekend despite scoring a late equaliser through substitute Jeff Hendrick.
Pieters said: “We started the game really well but didn’t score, then Brighton changed the system and gave us a bit more trouble. The second half was not us, we are much better than that.
“To nick a goal in the last minute makes you happy but makes you realise that we have to be better.”
Pieters was widely expected to start the season on the bench following his transfer from Stoke but an injury to Charlie Taylor gave him an opening and he seized his chance with two assists in the victory over Southampton.
He has played every minute in the Premier League since but knows he must maintain the same standard to hold onto his place.
The 31-year-old said of life with the Clarets: “I’m really pleased to be here. The group is perfect for me and a good group of lads and makes me feel at home and I want to show that I belong here. I am really happy.
“I don’t sign at a club to be happy to sit on the bench, I want to play like every other single player. I knew the competition was tough against Charlie and I know he is a quality left-back so I have to be at my best every single time to make sure I play.”
Winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson could return from a calf injury while manager Sean Dyche takes charge of his 313th Burnley game, taking him past Stan Ternant into fourth place on the Clarets’ all-time list.