Guardiola’s ruthless machine teaches old favorite Kompany a hard lesson

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Manchester City had won the previous 10 games against Burnley with an aggregate score of 34-1. All those games were played against teams led by Sean Dyche, a very different style of team to the one created by Vincent Kompany but, six goals later, some things never change. The Belgian has turned the Clarets from a dour but efficient side to an exciting and free-for-all, but the reality of what he faces next season became clear on Saturday night.

Promotion is essentially guaranteed, it would take an almighty demise to give up their 16-point lead in third place with one game left in the final two months of the season. His dominance in the league allowed Kompany to pick an almost complete squad at the Etihad. Fans serenaded their former captain, but this was a business event for Kompany.

Related: Haaland fires a hat-trick as Manchester City topple Kompany’s Burnley 6-0

Unfortunately for Burnley and their manager, hat-trick aficionados Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are a bit above their usual opponents. The visitors delivered the same intensity they had delivered in their 37 league games from the start, but quickly found they needed more than work rate and clever positional play to keep City at bay.

Burnley have scored at the rate of two per game in the Championship, having the best defence, but that didn’t count for anything. City are prone to making a mistake going through the back and constant pressure from the Burnley front line ensured they made mistakes, gifting chances to the Clarets, but they were unable to take advantage when their few chances arose.

Dyche-era stalwarts Ashley Barnes, Jack Cork and Charlie Taylor might have had memories of their Premier League days coming off the bench watching City enjoy 80% of possession in the first 15 minutes. Burnley are used to having most of the ball, but Kompany knew that wouldn’t be possible against the Premier League champions and is smart enough to realize that an enthusiastic attitude would have left them too wide open against an elite team. , deciding to go man to man in the city to try to contain them.

City were unable to bring Burnley down easily from the start, prompting Pep Guardiola to call Haaland in the 24th minute for a chat on the bench to give him instructions and modify his role to be last man, having played deeper in occasions. in the opening room. He paid dividends when Julián Álvarez sent the ball over for Haaland to score the first and he added the second thanks to Phil Foden’s pinpoint cross. These are hard lessons in facing one of the best teams in Europe. City made the most of the space for a fraction of a second, Álvarez and Foden were able to use it without a second thought and Burnley were unable to react.

Related: Manchester City 6-0 Burnley: FA Cup quarter-final, as it happened

It was an opportunity for Kompany to show that Burnley could step up. When they emerge, there will be more games like this and they must accept their role as losers. By half-time both teams had racked up five shots, with Burnley having more on target, but City had used their two chances to show the difference in the final third. By full time, City had quadrupled their number of shots, while Burnley made a solo effort after the break as the gulf in class became apparent.

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City’s dominance began to show more in the second half as Burnley paid for their efforts by conceding more goals. The hosts were allowed more space to operate and were more than happy to use it. Being able to produce Kompany’s high pace in the Premier League for 90 minutes, 38 times in a row, will be tough. He will improve the team in the summer, but he may need to take a more pragmatic approach against the elite.

The loss was a brutal realization for Kompany after a nearly perfect season, but he knows it’s a learning curve for him and his players. He spent his last years at City learning from Guardiola and learned another valuable lesson in defeat. Kompany has five months to plan for the top flight, but that might not be enough to come up with a plan to stop Haaland and City.

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