Express & Star

Wolves v Burnley: Clarets’ mentality up there with the best says boss Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany knows his Burnley side still have work to do to match their Premier League rivals in many departments but he believes they already possess a mindset to equal anyone else in the top-flight.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany

Burnley go into tonight’s trip to Wolves with renewed confidence after Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of fellow strugglers Sheffield United ended a long wait for a first home win of the season and lifted them off the bottom of the table.

Kompany has been talking up improving performances for several weeks but the setbacks kept coming, most obviously the previous weekend when Burnley conceded two late goals to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a 2-1 home loss to West Ham.

However the Belgian said Saturday’s display – in which Burnley opened the scoring through Jay Rodriguez after just 15 seconds and never looked in trouble – showed their ability to quickly reset.

“I said to the guys before the game I felt they were going to be celebrating on the day, and I felt they were going to be celebrating their effort, celebrating their mental strength and their determination in a tough time,” he said. “I didn’t know it before the game but I told them that. It can’t be taken for granted, the amount of pressure on such a game. It was one of two games where people say we’re maybe the favourites – every other game we’re really not the favourites.

“On top of that, with the lack of winning and results, to start the game as they did and finish the game as they did, there was a lot of pressure. The mindset within the club to press the reset button and continue the hard work is incredible.”

The former Manchester City captain, a four-time Premier League winner, said it compared with the mentality of the very top teams.

He added: “There’s things where there’s a big gap between us and Premier League teams still but aspects of the club where I think we’re part of the elite is in terms of the mindset, in terms of what people are doing to deliver their job every day – players and staff alike.

“It doesn’t show until you get results but I’ve been at a top club, I can benchmark that, and it’s something special that lives here every day.”

Rodriguez’s goal was the joint-fastest in Burnley’s history alongside John Connelly’s strike against Nottingham Forest in 1961, and the striker’s second effort in as many weeks.

As Kompany tries to mould a young squad, he said the 34-year-old’s experience was vital.

“It’s everything to us,” he said. “Our conversation is still about youthfulness but we still have a reasonable balance...with ‘Browny’ (Josh Brownhill), (Johann Berg) Gudmundsson, J-Rod and Charlie Taylor. I think there is a balance.

“But at his age, to still link it with physical output and performance in a tough time to get goals, I’m not sure if (Rodriguez) knew at this age he’d still be scoring Premier League goals.”

Burnley-born Rodriguez came through the ranks at the club before joining Southampton in 2012, earning an England cap a year later.

His progress was stalled by a serious knee injury suffered while playing against Kompany’s City side in April 2014, but Rodriguez has shown his quality through his longevity.

“I played against him, he got injured right in front of me when he had his big injury at Southampton,” Kompany said.

“But I remember watching him, playing against him, he was one of England’s top talents in the front line.

“He had everything. I think some of what he’s doing now might surprise people at his age, but he’s an exceptional talent. We’re lucky to have him. We keep him fit and happy and it helps us.”