Vincent Kompany enjoyed a winning start to life as Championship manager as his new side Burnley beat Huddersfield 1-0 in the 2022/23 Sky Bet EFL season opener.
The Manchester City legend replaced Sean Dyche at Turf Moor in June after three years at Anderlecht and watched debutant Ian Maatsen coolly sweep away the opener after just 18 minutes.
The Terriers – who were beaten by Nottingham Forest in the play-off final 61 days ago and lost head coach Carlos Corberan earlier this month – struggled to gain a foothold in the game and, although they kicked into high gear after the break, were unable to muster a single shot on target.
Later, Scott Twine nearly netted his first game against Burnley since a £4million move from MK Dons with a trademark free-kick that dived and shook the woodwork but, in the end, a single goal was enough.
How the Kompany era got off to a perfect start
Kompany didn’t promise miracles ahead of his return to English football and made it clear that his Burnley players would need time to adapt to a new division and a new way of thinking. Priced at 9/1 to claim the title before kick-off, they weren’t seen as immediate favourites, either.
But the way they started at John Smith’s Stadium suggested otherwise. The Clarets were aggressive in possession, their movement on the pitch smooth, their passing fast and crisp.
The visitors should have won a penalty when Tom Lees slid past Ashley Barnes as he collected a neat ball from Josh Cullen, but after Cullen and Barnes closed over the next few minutes they took a well-earned lead. deserved when Maatsen picked up the scraps after his own pass into the box and stroked the ball past Lee Nicholls.
Nicholls was quickly called into action to stop Connor Roberts from close range as Burnley looked to quickly double their lead, before Dara Costelloe struggled to connect with a loose ball at the edge of the six-yard box .
Huddersfield looked nervous in the rare moments they crossed the halfway line and missed the influence of Lewis O’Brien and Harry Toffolo – who both joined Forest this month – leading to loud boos at the break.
Danny Schofield rallied his troops enough to turn the tide a bit afterwards, with Sorba Thomas able to show glimpses of the creative streak that served his team so well last season, while the introduction of Tino Anjorin and Jack Rudoni saw the hosts up the tempo of the game.
They had nothing to show for it, however, and were almost punished when Twine hit the woodwork late, with the Clarets walking away with the first three points of the campaign.
Man of the Match – Josh Cullen
Sky Sports’ Andy Hinchcliffe:
“If you’re wondering why Vincent Kompany brought Josh Cullen to Burnley from Anderlecht, it’s for performances like this, with the control he brought to this game. He was aggressive on and off the ball. . An exceptional start.”
What the managers said…
from Huddersfield Danny Schofield: “In the first half they were a much better team. They were dominating the midfield and the wingers coming in caused us problems – they outnumbered us in that area and that’s something we we were wrong, but in the second half we changed a few things, we performed a lot better and we tried.
“[After the game] I said, we win together and lose together and suffer together. We keep growing, keep trying to perform and try to improve. As long as we stick together, this group of players shows a lot of fighting, a lot of energy all the time. They are true professionals and if they continue to show that fight and that spirit on the pitch, everything will be fine.
“We hope it gels very quickly. We had a very short pre-season and tried to get things into the players very quickly. New signings always take a bit of time, but we will try to speed this up. process. to make it as smooth as possible.”
from Burnley Vincent Kompany: “I couldn’t have asked for more. What I highlighted was the intensity of the team and how well the guys have really pulled themselves together – that’s the hardest part, especially with a lot of new players. We created a lot of the chances that could have been a bit more clinical, in my opinion, and that’s Burnley, so we work hard, we’re aggressive and we try to surround people in numbers. – and I think that’s what we did.
“The second half was a real test of what’s probably going on in the league. If you go around the ball in numbers I always think it trumps size, but you have to go around that and that’s a lot of work. We have a midfielder with legs and wingers with legs. We may not, at the moment, have the size of other teams, which is a little weird to say when you are the Burnley manager, but we have legs, heart and the guys were brave and got stuck.
“I keep saying, every day, give me hard work and attitude and I’ll take that above talent and that’s what Burnley is. We’re not there yet, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a step in the right direction, showing what we could do.
Huddersfield travel to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham at 7.45pm on Friday August 5, in a match live on Sky Sports Football, while Burnley return the next day, when they host Luton at 3pm at Turf Moor.