Summary: Crystal Palace - Manchester City 1:0 (Sport1)
How many coaches get to be hosted in the stadium where their statue is displayed?
Vincent Kompany will be very excited to set foot tonight (Saturday, 19:45 on Sport2) in the field of Manchester City, which has been his home for so long.
He became a legend and a symbol, considered one of the most beloved and important players in the club's history, won four championships as captain, and despite being a stopper scored two of the most iconic and critical goals of the Blues on their way to the top.
The first title of the Premier League era in 2012 is best remembered for Aguero and that injury time turnaround against Queens Park Rangers in the final round, but none of that would have been relevant had not Kompany defeated Manchester United with a superb strike in the derby two weeks earlier - the 0 win :1 He brought the "Noisy Neighbors" to the top at the expense of Alex Ferguson's Red Devils.
In 2019, right before he finished his 11-year term, the Belgian bombed against Leicester, with a tremendous missile from a distance that made it 0:1 in the penultimate round and allowed the Blues to finish in first place ahead of Liverpool, by a point.
Signed two of the team's most important goals.
Company in Manchester City uniform (Photo: GettyImages)
The void he left is still felt
So in August 2021, his statue was inaugurated at the entrance to Etihad Stadium together with David Silva's statue.
Tonight there will be great excitement among the fans when Kompany will return to the hall for the first time in a competitive game, on the standard of an opponent as Burnley's manager in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
And perhaps there is something symbolic in that Manchester City is not currently in first place, and Kompany is.
Although he leads the minor league, which is not exactly the same, but his success as a coach in the first season in the kingdom is dizzying by any measure, while at City the void he left behind is still felt to a considerable extent.
Because Kompany is a rare kind of leader.
David Silva, Fernandinho and Ilkay Gondwane are all excellent captains, yet none of them come close to the impact of the Belgian beacon.
Even when he rarely played due to a host of injuries in his final seasons at the club, his dominance was tremendous, and he was Pep Guardiola's right-hand man - as he had been the right-hand man of previous coaches.
Along the way, while watching many games from the sidelines, he learned more and more the Catalan's methods, and gradually prepared for the moment when he would hang up his boots and become a coach himself.
Because it was clear as day that this was his vocation.
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The frustration was great.
Kompany with Rafalov during his days in Anderlecht (Photo: GettyImages, Isosport/MB Media)
The project in Anderlecht was not perfect
In fact, Kompany became a coach even before he retired from active playing.
His youth club, Anderlecht, recruited him as a player-coach in the summer of 2019, right after he left England.
However, this combination did not quite work out, and within a few weeks Kompany decided that he was not able to give his maximum in both roles at the same time.
He stepped aside from the role of coach to concentrate on his tasks on the grass.
Only in 2020, when he was seriously injured again, he chose to end his career as a stopper - and was again appointed as the head coach, with the stated aim of returning the traditional flagship of Belgian football to the great days.
It was supposed to be a long-term project and the company signed a 4-year contract.
The basic idea was to promote graduates from the local academy, to find talents in other districts as well, and to add to them more experienced players, whom Kompany was able to attract due to their reputation - the oldest of them all was Lior Rafalov who joined in the summer of 2021 after leaving Antwerp in rather harsh tones.
With distinctly attacking football, high pressure and a clear emphasis on ball possession, the signee was to return the championship to Brussels, but not everything worked smoothly and the need to sell the leading youngsters hurt the chances of success.
Anderlecht finished fourth in 2021 and third in 2022, and the relationship between the coach and management gradually deteriorated.
Before the last cycle last year, Kompany stated: "I will sit down with the bosses, and we'll see if we can reach our goals. Shouting for victories is one thing, achieving them is a completely different thing."
Even then it was clear that the frustration was great, and at the same time rumors spread about a possible joining Burnley.
However, there were doubts about the willingness of the Belgian to migrate to the second division, and moreover to a club that is used to a style that is completely different from what Kompany represents.
180 degree change.
Company with Burnley players (Photo: GettyImages, Clive Brunskill)
The complete opposite of Sean Dyche
Sean Dyche was fired from Burnley in April 2022 at the end of a decade at the club, and his approach was simple in every way - football of the old English type, which is mainly based on a relatively low defensive line, absorbing pressure and lots of long balls towards the strikers.
It produced quite a few successes, and established Burnley against all the odds in the Premier League, but last season the horse ran out and the team had to decide in which direction it wanted to move forward.
It was possible to find a coach with a similar attitude to Deitch, but the management chose a 180 degree change.
When a company was recruited, it was a statement of intent.
Burnley wanted to imitate the model of Manchester City, only with a staff that is not comparable to the champion.
The Belgian arrived at a club that underwent radical changes in the squad, because most of the leading stars left following the relegation.
Goalkeeper Nick Pope was sold to Newcastle, defender James Tarkowski and winger Dwight McNeil moved to Everton, Maxwell was sold to West Ham, and the skeleton had to be rebuilt on a fairly modest budget.
Not everyone thought that such dramatic changes would lead to immediate success, and there were commentators who expected Burnley and the company to have difficulties adjusting to the new reality.
In practice, it turned out that this match was amazing almost from the first moment.
feel at home
Company (Photo: GettyImages, Clive Rose)
The family feels at home
Kompany's family is very happy to return to England, to such a familiar area.
His English wife has been a Manchester City fan since childhood, long before she knew Vincent.
His children grew up in the Kingdom and are City fans too, naturally.
The drive from Burnley to Manchester takes less than an hour, and there is a feeling that this environment suits everyone better than Brussels.
As for football, the new boss's ideas have been implemented admirably, and Burnley have really changed their style completely.
From a team with the lowest ball possession percentage in the Premier League last season, Burnley has upgraded to a leader in the field in the minor league this season, and it makes sure to control what is happening on every pitch and every opponent.
Kompany's connections certainly didn't hurt, and he signed Kosovar goalkeeper Ariant Moric straight from Manchester City.
Irish midfielder Josh Cullen has arrived along with the coach from Anderlecht to form a critical bolt in midfield, and there have also been other key signings from the Belgian league, including Brazilian defender Vitinho from Cercle Bruges and striker Enes Zarouri from Charleroi.
Even the players who were already in the squad, led by midfielders Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill, enjoy working in the new system, and Burnley soon became a monster that ran over the league.
Pep in front of our right hand.
Guardiola and company (Photo: Reuters)
Can beat Pep in his style?
In the first two months, she still had difficulty translating the advantage on the grass into victories, and the frustration from too many draw results was great.
As of October, that problem no longer exists and Burnley have practically secured their return to the Premier League already, with 24 wins and just two losses in 37 games.
She has 74 right goals - that is an average of two goals per game, and with 83 points she threatens to break the league record.
Next season, Kompany will return to his natural place in the Premier League, and he will have no intention of being dragged into relegation battles - Burnley will aim much higher.
Meanwhile, the first experience against a team from the top league resulted in a 2:4 victory at Bournemouth in the cup.
The momentum did not stop in this enterprise either, and tonight comes the most exciting game in Kompany's life as a coach.
He will go head-to-head against his mentor Guardiola, and will do his best to beat his favorite team even after receiving great applause from the stands.
His family members will also have a difficult decision on who to support this evening - they have not yet experienced this type of dilemma.
"I have mixed feelings. My connection to Manchester City is still very strong. It will not be easy for my children to understand who they are for, and this is an event that I am very much looking forward to. It will also be an exciting game for my players, and they deserve to test themselves against the best ", said the Belgian.
Many hugs are guaranteed to him, but will there also be an extraordinary sensation?
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