Vincent Kompany’s Manchester City return: Burnley manager’s record as a coach ahead of FA Cup quarterfinal


This weekend’s four FA Cup quarterfinal clashes throw up an eye-catching mix of Premier League and EFL sides all bidding for a place in the last four.

The structure of the draw means at least one non-Premier League side will reach the semfinals next month, with Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers, Grimsby Town and Burnley all in action.

Burnley feature in the first quarterfinal clash, as they head to defending champions Manchester City on March 18, with Clarets head coach Vincent Kompany returning to the Etihad Stadium for the first time since retiring as a player.

Kompany’s inspirational role as City captain led the club to a first Premier League title in 2012 with the Belgian going on to win four titles in Manchester as a beloved club icon.

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Vincent Kompany’s record as a manager

Following Kompany’s decision to leave City at the end of the 2018/19 season, he accepted an offer to take on a player-coach role at former club Anderlecht.

However, after a disastrous start to the 2019/20 campaign, Kompany was persuaded to step away from coaching duties and concentrate on his role as club captain.

After finishing eighth at the end of the campaign, Anderlecht opted to give Kompany another chance, following his decision to formally retire from playing, and the struggles of his replacements Simon Davies and Francois Vercauteren.

The release of coping with two jobs at the same time was a burden lifted from Kompany’s shoulders as he stabilised the club and secured respective 4th and 3rd place finishes in his two seasons in charge.

That solid start to his managerial career boosted the former defender’s profile, and he accepted the chance to replace Sean Dyche at Burnley last summer as the Clarets aim for an immediate Premier League return.

At Burnley, Kompany has lost just a handful of games to date and looks poised to end his first season in charge with some silverware and promotion to the Premier League. 

  Games Wins Draws Losses
Burnley 43 28 12 3
Anderlecht 95 43 30 22

*Stats correct as of March 14, 2023

Kompany’s style, tactics at Burnley

The move to Burnley has seen Kompany tweak his tactics and formation due to the demands of Championship football and the greater need for energy in central areas.

He was able to rely on former boss Pep Guardiola in the transfer market ahead of the 2022/23 season, securing deals for goalkeeper Arijanet Muric and defensive duo CJ Egan-Riley and Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

All three have played a vital role for Burnley in 2022/23, with some of Dyche’s old warriors, including Josh Brownhill, Ashley Barnes and Jack Cork, also having an impact.

However, the two key stars for Burnley this season were lesser known summer arrivals as Kompany persuaded Josh Cullen to follow him from Anderlecht, alongside a loan deal for Southampton star Nathan Tella.

Tella has hit the ground running, as top scorer for Burnley this season (14), with Republic of Ireland international Cullen the key man in midfield.

Kompany has not torn up Dyche’s playbook completely, but he wants his side to be brave and progressive in possession, without abandoning their traditional shape.

Harwood-Bellis has become a leader in defence, drawing comparisons to his manager, with Cullen acting as the fulcrum of a two-man defensive midfield unit, alongside Brownhill or Cork.

Cullen’s balance allows Brownhill to provide energy into a front three/four, which is anchored by Barnes’ nous and physicality, to allow the pace and goal threat of Tella, and January signing Michael Obafemi, to exploit space in behind.

Will Kompany manage Man City?

Kompany’s impressive start to life at Burnley has inevitably drawn questions over his future plans and the potential to replace Guardiola in future.

Mikel Arteta’s decision to move on for pastures new at Arsenal ended any chance of him immediately succeeding Guardiola, but the prospect of a club legend taking over the reins would be an exciting prospect for City fans.

Kompany’s place as arguably City’s greatest ever player is unquestioned, with his drive and quality forcing them over the line in title battles against Man United and Liverpool, including that memorable title clincher against Leicester in 2019.

The decision to replace Guardiola appears a long way off for City, following his contract extension until 2025, but Kompany will be among the candidates, if he continues on a positive upward curve.

Guardiola himself has previously backed Kompany to one day return to Man City as a manager.

“He will be back sooner or later. His destiny to be Man City boss is written in the stars,” Guardiola said in early March.

“It is going to happen; I don’t know when but it is going to happen.”

Kompany youngest Premier League manager in 2023/24?

Premier League promotion looks to be edging closer for Burnley this season, as they lead the way at the top of the EFL Championship by 13 points with 10 games to play.

If Kompany avoids an end-of season collapse, and guides Burnley back into the top-flight, he will join a shortlist of coaches to take charge of a Premier League game aged under 40.

Ryan Mason holds the record as the youngest coach to take charge of a Premier League game with Tottenham, aged 29 years and 10 months, in 2021.

However, Kompany looks certain to become the youngest Premier League boss in 2023/24 (as he turns 37 in April), with Bournemouth head coach Gary O’Neil and Southampton’s interim boss Ruben Selles both 39.