“My blood is boiling just hearing the word complacent. It’s something I find very difficult as a human being to even accept.”
Those were the words of Vincent Kompany not too long after Burnley hit the top of the Championship table. And they have not lost a game since.
A 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Good Friday was enough to see them complete their return to the top flight with seven games to spare, in a season that saw them hit the top of the league in October and not let up since.
The Manchester City legend has steered the Clarets back into the Premier League at the first time of asking and in doing so turned himself into one of the most exciting new young managers in the English game.
With Kompany at the helm next season, Burnley could well be a very different prospect to what they were before in the Premier League.
Analysis: How Burnley built back better
Sky Sports EFL Editor Simeon Gholam:
“For all the talk of parachute payments that usually swirls around when a team bounces straight back to the Premier League, you only need to look at where Norwich and Watford are this season to see that it is not always as straightforward.
“Burnley had lost their figurehead manager in Sean Dyche – who had spent nearly a decade shaping the club in his image – their England international goalkeeper Nick Pope, their reliable defensive duo James Tarkowski and Ben Mee, Nathan Collins, Dwight McNeil, Max Cornet and Ashley Westwood.
“The core of the side had been ripped out, and in came a big-name manager with a massive reputation in the game, but still very little experience in the role.
“Money was spent but the arrivals were all fairly low key and all have improved under Kompany. He used his knowledge of an untapped Belgian market to bring in the likes of Anass Zaroury, Manuel Benson, Vitinho and more.
“Shrewd loan signings have already made a big impact. Southampton must be wondering whether letting Nathan Tella score as freely as he has in the Championship as they head towards the Premier League trapdoor was such a good idea.
“Elsewhere, Ian Maatsen will surely have hopes of breaking in at Chelsea next season as a challenger to Ben Chilwell on the left side of their defence, and Taylor Harwood-Bellis would be a candidate for the Championship team of the season had he not got injured in January.
“And then there has been the style of play. Free-flowing, attacking, dominating. The defeat at Sheffield United in November sticks out like a sore thumb because it was so isolated in how poor it was. And lessons were quickly learned. After that defeat, Burnley won their next 10 in a row, scoring 24 and conceding just three.
“They will, without a shadow of a doubt, go down as one of the greatest-ever Championship sides. And all eyes will be on Kompany and Burnley to see if they can continue to build in the Premier League next season – if the Clarets can keep him.”
How do Burnley compare to the best in Championship history?
Here’s how Burnley’s numbers compare to the records that have been set since the Championship was re-branded at the start of the 2004/05 season and the ones Kompany’s Clarets could still break themselves…
When Campbell met Kompany
Kompany tackles a wide range of topics in an exclusive interview with ex-Downing Street director of communications and Clarets fan Alastair Campbell.