Ninety points, twenty-six wins, twelve draws, two losses, and the cherry at the top of the cake – Premier League Promotion, all as of match day 40.
At the beginning of the championship season in June of 2022 when the sudden announcement of rookie Anderlecht manager – Vincent Kompany was made, all these seemed a dream far-fetched for any Claret supporter.
An appointment that was met with mixed reactions by the fans was further made boisterous no thanks to a relatively slow start to the season under Kompany - winning six of his first 15 Championship games. Amazingly, a change in fortune has seen the newly promoted side drop just nine points since this torrid run.
The 2-4 away victory against Sunderland at the stadium of light for Vincent Kompany – who was gradually becoming the subject of scrutiny, marked the turning point for the Lancashire team.
A run of 25 games ramping up 20 victories, 4 draws, and just 1 defeat was all that was needed for the young Belgian manager to be tipped as one of the best managers in Championship football history. His Burnley side, scoring an average of 2.0 goals per game and conceding a lowly 0.8, including 17 clean sheets, are just 6 wins from becoming the best championship side ever witnessed.
How did a once defensive team managed by Sean Dyche transform into an attacking beast in the EFL Championship? What must have been the recipe for this feat Vincent Kompany and Burnley have achieved? Taking an ardent look at the events that unfolded and the early success Vincent Kompany has experienced so far, we pegged his achievement to three major factors;
MAJOR SQUAD REBUILD
Inspired by his former coach Pep Guardiola, Kompany’s initial task for Burnley was to set out a clear rebuild. One which will bring about reinvention, in terms of personnel and style of play. Nick Pope, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil and Maxwel Cornet all were shown the exit door, for various reasons including finance for the proposed restructure. Other key figures from Sean Dyches’ team such as Captain Ben Mee and James Tarkowski moved on without any compensation for Burnley. A total of 16 players were recruited by Kompany in the summer, five of those on loan, as the new boss set out to drastically reduce the average age of the squad, intending to generate a youthful, vibrant, competitive, and competitive and ambitious culture. His blueprint worked, even if a pocket of supporters initially needed more convincing than others.
TACTICS AND STYLE OF PLAY
Just as he did when he took over affairs at Anderlecht, Kompany brought tactics that he learnt under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Under him, Anderlecht played a four-man backline in which fullbacks used to board the wing to create overloads. So, to ensure that the team has numerical superiority, Kompany opted for a two-man midfield, one of which dropped down to defence.
In the attack, the team used high press, quick passing to overwhelm the opposition quickly and consistent front-line pressure to win the ball back promptly. In the defensive third, Kompany used man-to-man marking to block the passing lanes of the opposition.
At Burnley, the tactics have remained the same, but with the quality of players he has in the EFL Championship. The club has spent considerable money in the summer transfer window to ensure a quick promotion to the Premier League.
Using these players, Kompany has created a system that stresses using the wings and inside channels to conduct their attacks. The team’s defenders are also encouraged to go for long balls, a notable adjustment Kompany made at Burnley. It is one of the reasons why defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis averages 6.7 accurate long balls per 90 minutes, the second-best for any player in the league.
Burnley have also become a pass-oriented side averaging 467.2 passes per 90 minutes, the second-best for a team in the league. These tactics have been so impressive that Burnley have scored 20 goals more than what they were expected to.
Likewise, Burnley’s front-line press has also translated to success to such a great degree that teams have barely gotten the chance to get near the Clarets’ goal, which is why they have conceded the least in the league
BLENDING TALENT AND EXPERIENCE
Kompany since taking the reins at Burnley have been able to unearth some hidden gems from scouting missions across the Continent, with Manuel Benson, Anass Zaroury, and Jordan Beyer all excelling. He has also extended his reach to his former club Anderlecht and he's signed a couple of players he previously worked with including midfielder Josh Cullen reunited from Anderlecht, and the equally outstanding defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis, on loan from Man City.
He's also taken a chance on a couple of youngsters desperate to enhance their own development, such as Chelsea's Ian Maatsen and Southampton's Nathan Tella – the club's leading scorer with 19 goals in all competitions.
The leading contender for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Year award has managed to catch lightning in a bottle. Burnley are unbeaten at Turf Moor in all competitions, scoring in every one of those matches except their game against Sunderland.