I’ll keep what everyone hates about playing against us… and just add goals! Vincent Kompany reveals his Burnley philosophy – but insists he will never tinker with culture instilled by Sean Dyche
- Vincent Kompany is aiming to take Burnley back to the Premier League
- They were relegated last season before Kompany was appointed this summer
- Kompany has signed several young players and aims to play attacking football
- But he does not want to lose the mould that makes Burnley hard to play against
Vincent Kompany witnessed plenty of change during his time at Manchester City but even for him it has been a whirlwind first six weeks in the hot seat at Burnley.
Kompany’s Clarets will have a very different look from the Sean Dyche model when they kick off the Championship season against Huddersfield on Friday night.
Following relegation, nine players aged 29 or over have departed, along with £20million defender Nathan Collins, while interest remains in Maxwel Cornet and Dwight McNeil.
Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany was appointed Burnley manager in June
Kompany has been tasked with taking Burnley back to the Premier League as soon as possible
In their place, Kompany has signed eight — with more on the way. Midfielder Josh Cullen is the oldest newbie at 26 and most are much younger including City players CJ Egan-Riley, goalkeeper Aro Muric and Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Bookmakers are sceptical the big turnaround in style and personnel will immediately take Burnley back to the Premier League but Kompany is adamant that, for all the change, he wants the club to remain one that nobody likes playing.
‘I remember those trips to Turf Moor,’ he says with a smile. ‘It’s an environment thing. Everyone is that bit bigger, the fans are that bit closer to the pitch, walking through the corridors is a little less comfortable.
‘To be at one of these clubs suits me. It’s something I want to protect and then add the ideas I have about the game.
‘We can change systems and I’ve never heard anybody complaining about a coach saying he wants to attack and score goals. But a culture is not a system and it’s difficult to create.
The Belgian is Manchester City’s most successful captain ever, winning several trophies
He was a mainstay of City’s backline for a number of years before leaving the club in 2019
‘At Burnley there are good people all over the building and that’s something I want to keep. It’s how people interact with each other and stay together in difficult moments.’
Burnley punched above their weight during the Dyche years but even some of their own supporters complained about the sterile way in which they played.
Now it’s Kompany’s turn to find the balance between style and results, against the backdrop of financial restrictions.
He is aware interest in him is based on being the most successful captain in City’s history. Indeed, he lifted the FA Cup at Wembley in 2019 in his last match in England.
At the same time, he believes his experience as a manager is just as relevant. Only 36, he has spent the last three years rebuilding Anderlecht with an inexperienced team.
‘I don’t take offence if you don’t know what I achieved as a player but it’s significant what we did at Anderlecht,’ he says.
Burnley were relegated last season, a year when long-time manager Sean Dyche was sacked
Kompany has focused on youth in his recruitment in the transfer window this summer
‘We believed in young players. I realised they need a pathway and if you commit to them, commit properly. Ride the bad days with them and keep them going when they have good days.
‘Give them time, eventually they give you more than what you can afford to buy.’
Kompany’s bold mission statement explains why Burnley fans are more excited about this season than might ordinarily be expected.
Instead of older warhorses Chris Wood or Wout Weghorst up front, 22-year-old Scott Twine will lead the line after signing from MK Dons, where he scored 20 goals last season. Kompany’s knowledge of the Belgian market has seen Cullen rejoin him from Anderlecht.
His midfield link-up with Samuel Bastien, recruited from Standard Liege, should see one of last term’s success stories, Josh Brownhill, get further forward. Brownhill provided a hat-trick of assists in a 3-1 pre-season friendly win against Shrewsbury that was a glimpse into the future.
22-year-old Scott Twine is expected to lead the Burnley attack after arriving this summer
There were eyebrows raised when Kompany agreed to come to Burnley, even if the North-West is somewhere he knows well.
‘My life has always been full of coincidences,’ he says. ‘I met my wife, who is a Manchester City fan, when I played for Hamburg.
Little did I know then I would later get an offer from City. I’d have been happy to move to Germany, Italy, wherever. But of course we get pulled back to the North-West where she is from because of a football decision.
‘I’m coming into this project at the right time. We’re in the environment of the Premier League, the best in the world. Coming back to England was always going to happen at some stage.’
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