Burnley have made a promising start under Vincent Kompany after Premier League relegation

0
36


Given the mammoth scale of upheaval at Turf Moor following relegation out of the Premier League, you’d have forgiven Burnley a sluggish start this season.

They appointed a new manager in Vincent Kompany, whose desired playing style was about as far removed from that of predecessor Sean Dyche as is imaginable.

Tight financial constraints led to the departures of household names like Ben Mee, James Tarkowski, Nick Pope, Dwight McNeil and Maxwel Cornet, with Kompany not seeing much of the proceeds.

Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring in Burnley's 2-1 win over Bristol City before the internationals

Jay Rodriguez celebrates scoring in Burnley’s 2-1 win over Bristol City before the internationals

Vincent Kompany is slowly shaping the Clarets in their image as they chase promotion

Vincent Kompany is slowly shaping the Clarets in their image as they chase promotion

Burnley are fourth in the Championship table as they target an immediate top-flight return

Burnley are fourth in the Championship table as they target an immediate top-flight return

But the Clarets have started well. They came into the international break sitting fourth in the Championship table, on an eight-match unbeaten run and having lost only once all season.

And the clear message from inside the Burnley camp is that once ‘Dycheball’ has been fully flushed from the system and Kompany’s more aesthetically pleasing approach is fully ingrained, there will be a lot more to come yet.

‘You can sometimes forget what has actually gone on with players coming in, players going out, a new manager and new ways,’ midfielder Josh Brownhill told Sportsmail.

‘Normally, it takes a while to gel together and see the really good performances.

‘It has been a big credit to us that we’ve only been beaten once and we’ve had some really important wins, some good performances and some really good goals.

‘I feel there’s a lot more in us but for now it’s a credit to everyone involved how quickly we have taken things on board, listened and trusted the process.’

Burnley's six-season stint as a Premier League club came to an end with relegation in May

Burnley’s six-season stint as a Premier League club came to an end with relegation in May

Sean Dyche was ditched with the team staring relegation in the face back in mid-April

Sean Dyche was ditched with the team staring relegation in the face back in mid-April

When Burnley went four winless in August, it looked like pre-season expectations of an immediate return to the top-flight would have to be revised.

But after Brownhill scored twice in a 5-1 thrashing of Wigan, they have recorded further wins over Millwall and an in-form Bristol City to get into a promising position.

Kompany, 36, is a well-known and well-regarded figure in English football who won four Premier League titles with Manchester City.

Though naturally he learned a great deal from Pep Guardiola in his final three seasons at the Etihad Stadium – and there is some clear influence when it comes to wanting to dominate possession – the Belgian is developing his own philosophy.

‘You can tell with the presence he brings when he walks into a room, you know who it is,’ said Brownhill.

‘Not only that, he is a really good guy to talk to, we get on well with him and then when you start learning, you see how much detail he goes into and how clever he is as a manager.

Burnley stars Brownhill (left) and Rodriguez (right) were joined by Ben Bottomley (middle) from Burnley FC in the Community to present a cheque for £2,000 from Vertu Motors Land Rover Nelson to Whitehough Outdoor Centre

Burnley stars Brownhill (left) and Rodriguez (right) were joined by Ben Bottomley (middle) from Burnley FC in the Community to present a cheque for £2,000 from Vertu Motors Land Rover Nelson to Whitehough Outdoor Centre

The two players put plenty of smiles on faces as they joined the children from from St Mary's CE Primary School, Rawtenstall in various activities at Whitehough Outdoor Centre

The two players put plenty of smiles on faces as they joined the children from from St Mary’s CE Primary School, Rawtenstall in various activities at Whitehough Outdoor Centre

‘Everything he has done has worked and you can see even when we’ve not got the win, it’s probably more on us not finishing our chances, rather than being outplayed tactically.

‘The time he was there at the end with Pep, he was interested in the way they played.

‘But I’ve had a few conversations with him here and there are a lot of things for him and [Craig] Bellamy as well, their ways and their style.

‘We can see it is working and it is really enjoyable to play in.’

Jay Rodriguez, another player who wasn’t part of the summer turnover, has first-hand experience of what it’s like to come up against Kompany on the pitch.

‘I played against him a few times and it was always tough,’ the forward said. ‘I probably wouldn’t have gone too near him, I probably would have stayed away!

‘He is obviously a legend to Man City and the career he had was unbelievable. It’s ridiculous to be working alongside someone like him.

Kompany celebrates at the final whistle after Burnley's 2-1 victory over in-form Bristol City

Kompany celebrates at the final whistle after Burnley’s 2-1 victory over in-form Bristol City

Manuel Benson celebrates with Brownhill after opening the scoring against Bristol City

Manuel Benson celebrates with Brownhill after opening the scoring against Bristol City

‘The manager has his own style and we are learning and trying to do what he tells us to do. It’s working so far and we need to keep doing it.

Burnley born, Rodriguez feels a personal obligation to restore them to the Premier League, where they spent six seasons under Dyche, achieving a highest finish of seventh in 2017-18.

‘Being a local lad, you always want the club to do as well as they should. Burnley should be in the Premier League – that was massive for myself, the town and the club,’ he said.

‘There was the initial sadness and disappointment of being relegated – and we nearly got out of that towards the end but it wasn’t meant to be.

Rodriguez, 33, has started the season well with five goals in eight Championship appearances

Rodriguez, 33, has started the season well with five goals in eight Championship appearances

‘Then there was the motivation to hit the ground running and to bounce back. We used the sadness of that moment as motivation.’

Rodriguez has scored five goals in eight Championship games this season, while Brownhill has four goals and two assists in 10 matches.

Both are now striving to get Burnley into an even stronger position by the time the break for the World Cup comes around, beginning with Saturday’s trip to Cardiff.

‘It is full on now until the World Cup, it will be even more crazy,’ said Brownhill.

‘I think it will be after the World Cup when you start to see the best of us.’

Jay Rodriguez and Josh Brownhill were speaking as they presented Whitehough Outdoor Centre a cheque for £2000, courtesy of partner Vertu Motors’ Land Rover Nelson dealership. 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here