‘Wonderful’ - What Bristol City boss said about Burnley and Vincent Kompany

The Robins boss was full of praise for the Champions - who will get a guard of honour at Ashton Gate
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Nigel Pearson says that he is fascinated by Burnley’s title win and has hailed the work of Vincent Kompany ahead of their clash with Bristol City.

The Clarets boss brings his Championship winning team to Ashton Gate this weekend after clinching the title at Blackburn Rovers in midweek. Burnley have won the league with two games to spare and hold a ten-point advantage over Sheffield United, who will be joining them in the Premier League next season.

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Kompany has delivered on early season expectations placed on him after Burnley’s relegation from the English top flight. He replaced Michael Jackson after Sean Dyche’s sacking last year and has now earned praise from former Leicester boss Pearson, who is at the opposite end of his career.

"We come up against Burnley at the weekend who are the epitome of an efficient Championship side," said Pearson in his assessment of Burnley.

"Albeit, one year in the Championship because they came down from the Premier League but their last season in the Premier League was a difficult experience for them.

"A change of manager from a very structured and successful model which came to have a difficult time. Their achievements this year have been quite fascinating to observe from the outside but they’ve been a really good side and their ability to outrun teams, that’s where we’ve made big changes as well too. We’re a much fitter team across the board and that will reflect on how we recruit as well."

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As first seasons go Vincent Kompany will have enjoyed his first taste of management in English football. He had a mixed spell in his native Belgium with Anderlecht but won the Manager of the Year award at the EFL awards last Sunday.

"He’s a really decent guy when you come across him," said Pearson. And very focused. He’s experienced maybe a difficult introduction when he was at Anderlecht in some ways but he’s got the right group around him and I would expect him to get the Championship Manager of the Year because he’s done a wonderful job and I take my hat off to him.”

In September, Burnley won 2-1 at Turf Moor. Manuel Benson opened the scoring before Nahki Wells equalised in the 27th minute but Jay Rodriguez netted after the hour mark for the champions.

City had a different formation for that match with three centre-backs, two wing-backs, as well as a supporting midfielder and two strikers. At the time, City were eighth whilst Burnley were fourth and the two teams were evenly matched. Both teams added to their squad in January but still have a core of their teams from that match day.

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Burnley’s season objectives of promotion and the title have been wrapped up but there is still the incentive of finishing the season as strongly as possible. The Lancashire side could achieve 100 points with two wins from their remaining matches.

"I’d still rather win a bad game," said Pearson when asked if Saturday’s game could be an entertaining spectacle. This is where we have to adjust our thinking somewhat and it is about entertaining but it’s about winning and we need to find ways of - I don’t want to be a side that entertains people but doesn’t win so. I think we’ve got more threat now from when we played them earlier in the season.

"That doesn’t mean it’s going to be any easier. They’ve developed over the course of the season themselves and so they’ve had one or two hiccups along the way, every side does that but they’ve got the opportunity of finishing above 100 points and there aren’t too many sides who have done that. That will be their target."

City’s old enemy Neil Warnock claimed several months ago that Burnley could be the best team in the 30-year history of the Championship. Reading’s title-winning team in 2005/06 hold the record for the highest points tally, achieving 106, and Burnley are currently nine short of that. Wins in their next two matches would still have them five points off, but

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Pearson is well-positioned to pass judgment on previous champions. He led Leicester City to the title in 2013/14 and has managed numerous clubs in the Championship. Burnley’s achievements should be recognised but their ability to fall back on parachute payments should be considered when spoken about comparing previous title-winning teams.

He said: "It’s up to anybody to compare anything that they want. I think people could argue cases for lots of teams that have been very successful. Year-on-year the league is a little bit different. For a side that comes down from the Premier League, there is an added advantage of having a bit more financial clout but I think there have been some great stories over the years.

"Whoever wins the Championship title really has very much earned it. What’s the most important thing in any given season is whoever wins it has earned the right and has been the best side and there is no doubt about that."

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