EFL

Title-winning Vincent Kompany relishing his shot at the big time with Burnley

By Sports Desk May 08, 2023

Vincent Kompany ended Burnley’s title-winning season with a 3-0 home victory over Cardiff and revealed why he chose to sign a new five-year contract at the Premier League-bound club.

The former Manchester City captain led the post-match celebrations and Championship trophy presentation having steered his club back to the top flight – where he intends to have “a bit of fun”.

It marked a remarkable first season in English management for the Belgian who was appointed following the Clarets’ relegation 12 months ago.

The final-day win came 24 hours after the highly-rated 37-year-old signed a new five-year contract that could keep him in charge at Turf Moor until 2028.

Kompany’s efforts have attracted the interest of potential suitors, with Chelsea the latest to be linked with interest in him.

“I still had three or four years left and it’s not something I went chasing but there is a pragmatic reason for signing the new deal,” said Kompany.

“For my pathway, this is the right decision, but it helps when we try and recruit players.

“When I’m trying to convince a player to come here it’s easier just after I have signed a new deal.

“We have had a massive advantage planning for next season, because we have known about promotion of a long time.

“But we were going to lose that if people were waiting for me to come out with a statement.”

On a day of rain-soaked celebrations at Turf Moor, former NFL legend JJ Watt, who this week became a minority owner in the club, carried the Championship trophy onto the field for its presentation to Kompany and his players.

The win saw Burnley hit the century mark in points, their 101 the highest recorded by any team in the division since Leicester won the league with one more, in 2014.

And it summed up a dominant campaign for a Burnley team who lost just one of their final 26 games and were beaten only three times over the entire league campaign, winning promotion with seven games to spare.

“We faced doubt at the beginning of this season and it will be the same next season,” said Kompany.

“It’s for us to use that to rally around. It starts now. The goal for me next year is to make our fans proud and have a bit of fun in the Premier League.”

The final-day win was also a fitting send-off for veteran striker Ashley Barnes, after nearly a decade at Turf Moor.

He struck after 31 minutes when Josh Brownhill’s cross was met by Cardiff defender Mahlon Romeo who simply chested the ball into the path of Barnes to bury an excellent first-time finish.

The visitors, who ended the season five points above the relegation zone, also contributed to Burnley’s opening goal, four minutes earlier.

Defender Andy Rinomhota kept the ball in play, as he tried to dispossess Anass Zaroury, by pushing it into his area with his hands.

That enabled Zaroury to cross the ball for Brownhill to score from close range, despite Cardiff protests.

Scott Twine wrapped up the scoring on 58 minutes when he lodged a superbly-hit right-foot free-kick from the edge of the box into the Cardiff net.

Cardiff manager Sabri Lamouchi is set to meet club owner Vincent Tan to thrash out his and the club’s future direction.

“We saw the big gap between them and us,” he said. “It’s about small details; experience, quality. Everything is on the table and we just need to know what the club and the owner want to do.”

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    Coventry manager Mark Robins wrote off his side’s Sky Bet Championship play-off hopes after their 3-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Birmingham.

    An own goal by Bobby Thomas in the 12th minute and strikes from Ivan Sunjic and Jay Stansfield condemned the visitors to a third loss in four games.

    Coupled with Norwich’s 1-0 win at Preston, it left the Sky Blues in eighth place, eight points adrift of the top six with four games left.

    They have an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United next weekend and next play in the Championship on April 24 when they host Hull.

    “We had to pick points up in three out of the four games we have lost and you can’t do that if you are realistically challenging, so it’s massively disappointing,” said Robins.

    “We have given ourselves a mountain to climb. We could be 12 points adrift (of the top six) by the time we next play (in the league) and Norwich are too good.

    “We didn’t start at all. Initially we had a couple of shots dragged wide, but they were first to the ball in every challenge. Every first contact they seemed to win.

    “It looked like a lethargic performance and people made poor choices and it cost us three goals.

    “They took the lead from an own goal where we didn’t get close enough to the attacker (Keshi Anderson), then for the second one, (goalkeeper) Brad Collins was unsighted.

    “For the third goal we got dragged all over the place because we weren’t talking and that smacks of fatigue.”

    The victory was Birmingham’s biggest win since October – and only their second in 11 games – and it moved them out of the relegation zone after Bristol City denied Huddersfield victory at the death.

    Blues led when Anderson’s cross hit Thomas and deflected in at the near post.

    Sunjic doubled the hosts’ lead with a rasping low drive that caught Collins flat-footed after a corner and Stansfield made it 3-0 when he clipped the ball past Collins following a superb diagonal run behind the defence which was spotted by Tyler Roberts on the left.

    The closest Coventry came to scoring came in the 20th minute when Haji Wright’s lob hit the bar after keeper John Ruddy headed away a clearance.

    Birmingham interim manager Gary Rowett challenged his side to repeat the performance for the next three games to avoid relegation.

    “That was a much better performance and it had a lot more of what we expect and, lo and behold, you get your rewards,” he said.

    “You might not find yourself solid defensively, but you find yourself scoring and creating chances.

    “Some of the senior lads held the others to account in midweek (after a 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff) and everyone has taken that on board, which is what should happen. I thought we showed it.

    “Now we’ve got to replicate that in the last three games.”

    Rowett also praised the positive impact of the 26,811 crowd.

    “It’s been no coincidence we’ve had five full houses this season and won all five games,” he added.

    “If that doesn’t show the power of our fan base, nothing will. They were brilliant – the atmosphere was incredible.

    “It was nice to reward that loyalty with a performance that had a similar edge.”

  • I have no words for the second half – Erol Bulut questions Cardiff’s mentality I have no words for the second half – Erol Bulut questions Cardiff’s mentality

    Erol Bulut questioned Cardiff’s mentality after an “unacceptable” second-half performance in their 3-1 defeat against Millwall at The Den.

    Jake Cooper’s volley put the Lions in front at the break after Michael Obafemi and Yakou Meite traded goals during an entertaining first half.

    However, Neil Harris’ side controlled the second half, limiting the Bluebirds to scraps before Duncan Watmore made sure of things in stoppage time with a cool finish past Ethan Horvath.

    The result lifts Millwall into 16th, six points clear of the relegation zone, while Cardiff are now 11th with three games remaining.

    And Bulut insists his side need to show a winning mentality in their remaining games.

    “Millwall at home are a good team, they are working and fighting and I was satisfied with the first half, but with the second half, I have no words for the second half,” he said.

    “Nobody can tell me ‘two days before we had a game and we were tired’, Millwall also played a few days ago.

    “The main thing is the mentality, how you go in the game, if you want to change this game, if you want to win this game, what you are expecting from yourself individually.

    “I can speak only to my players, but the mentality on the field has to change, especially in the second half.

    “Consistency is the biggest problem that we have this season. If it was a little bit different then we would be speaking now about different things.

    “It was like day and night. In the first half it was clear that the better team was Cardiff but we conceded two goals and the second half was not acceptable.

    “If you have these small mistakes in your game then it is difficult to come back.”

    The win is a huge boost for relegation-threatened Millwall and Harris believes his side are proving a lot of people wrong.

    “Every man and his dog wanted to tell me that these lads can’t play at The Den,” Harris said.

    “They do know how to play at The Den and it was a big thing for me to try and galvanise the football club and bring the terrace and the pitch together.

    “It’s down to the players when they go on the pitch, so they take the credit and the praise for it.

    “Tuesday night against Leicester was a monumental performance from the players and a special evening, but in some ways I’m more pleased with today because to back it up with such a comprehensive performance is testament to the group’s mentality.

    “We looked a lot more confident today with the ball and I think if we had scored the third goal at the start of the second half we could have gone on to score four or five.

    “It’s important for the football club to stay at this level.”

  • Andre Breitenreiter wants VAR in Championship after late penalty denies Terriers Andre Breitenreiter wants VAR in Championship after late penalty denies Terriers

    Andre Breitenreiter called for VAR to be used in Championship matches after Nahki Wells’ stoppage-time penalty had denied his Huddersfield team a crucial win.

    The former Terriers striker sent a powerful spot-kick past Lee Nicholls with almost the last kick of the game after referee Rebecca Welch had judged substitute Ollie Turton to have handled a Cameron Pring cross.

    The goal cancelled out Josh Koroma’s clinical strike from 10 yards after 81 minutes and meant Huddersfield remained in the Championship drop zone with just three games left.

    Head coach Breitenreiter said: “I have said before that the Championship needs VAR for sure and this moment proved it.

    “We don’t think it was a penalty and a referee needs to be 150 per cent sure to award one in the 98th minute.

    “VAR would have meant justice for my team. I spoke to the referee afterwards and she explained her reasons for the decision, but that doesn’t change anything.

    “I feel so sorry for my players because they are crying in the dressing room, yet their performance today was all I could have asked.

    “We played as a team for 90 minutes, working hard throughout and created chances.

    “Maybe we should have scored a second goal, but we defended well as a team, which is what we needed in more games in the past.

    “You could tell the Bristol City fans were unhappy with their team at half-time and that shows how well we played.

    “Ollie Turton is in the dressing room trying to apologise for a mistake. But he didn’t make a mistake.

    “It isn’t the first time a big decision has gone against us. But I would rather talk about the performance than something over which we have no control.

    “The players are so disappointed, but they shouldn’t be because they did so well.

    “Now we have two home games in the final three and have to play with the same attitude.”

    City head coach Liam Manning said of the spot-kick: “Cam Pring thought it was a penalty, but I was in no position to judge.

    “It was a tough and frustrating game for us, but sometimes it can have a positive effect to secure a result from a below-par performance.

    “We have been on the wrong end of late goals and the difference between a draw and losing on confidence is very different.

    “In the end it was a solid point for us and a result we might not have got a few months ago.

    “If you want to be successful in this division you have to be able to go 11 or 12 games unbeaten. That means picking up points when not at your best.

    “Because of injuries, we had a new look to our back-line, with players out of their normal position. I thought they did well.

    “In the first half our passing was sloppy at times and we weren’t positive enough with our running.

    “We were better in the second half, but the players know we weren’t at our best and are honest enough to admit that.

    “I would be happy to see VAR introduced in the Championship, but with a few amendments. Games can be held up for too long.”

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