Wigan Athletic 1, Burnley 5: Chris Boden signs off as the Clarets run riot

Vincent Kompany said before the game that he would be happy to "throw possession stats down the river" after finding Championship wins elusive, despite dominating the ball.

The Clarets had the highest average possession in the division after five games, with 70.6%, ahead of usual suspects Swansea City and Norwich City.

But at the DW Stadium, on the south bank of the River Douglas, Burnley showed that they can win, in style, with their lowest share of the ball this campaign, just 55%.

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Kompany has completely overhauled the team and it’s principles, but what he wanted to see more than anything was graft and craft.

Vincent KompanyVincent Kompany
Vincent Kompany

His players certainly delivered both, as they quickly learned the lessons of last week’s 3-3 draw against Blackpool at Turf Moor.

Ahead of the trip to the DW Stadium, he said: "There's one side of it we can't forget, is this team works hard.

"I'd be happy to throw the possession stats down the river here, I couldn't care less, it's just 'don't give the ball away when you don't have to’.

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"To me, that's commonsense – I can't teach players to give the ball away, it's not in my nature.

"But I want them to score goals and be creative.

"You'll have days when it works and days it doesn't, like any type of football, but the biggest thing is how hard they work.”

He added: "You come to Burnley, and if you don't get the running, I wouldn't be proud of the team, whether you have 10% possession or 60/70/80%, I don't care.

"If my team's not running hard, it wouldn't be for me.”

That is a prerequisite for most managers, but ally that with Burnley’s ability on the ball, patience and, given Kompany’s business in the transfer market, searing pace threat, that makes a heady mix.

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A first win at Wigan, at either Springfield Park or the DW, was achieved, fittingly, with a mixture of Verve and vigour.

My colleague Paul Kendrick of the Wigan Post tweeted: “I would back them to win this league. Different level.”

While no one is thinking along those lines as of yet, after only a second league win in six outings, this was a hugely encouraging performance, especially in the context of last week.

Having led 2-0 and 3-1 against Blackpool, only to draw 3-3, Burnley again roared into a 2-0 lead here, before the half hour, both via centres from Vitinho, playing at left back with Ian Maatsen suspended.

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The Clarets had 65% possession at this point, but in the last 10 minutes of the half, they dipped to 48%, as Wigan turned them around with balls over the top, which won them a penalty, and led to a sense of deja vu.

At 2-1 at the break, were we going to see Burnley fail to react, as they did to Blackpool’s start to the second half?

But, after a scare when the Latics could and should have levelled, the Clarets quickly added a third and subsequently controlled the second period.

They didn’t go hell for leather chasing a fourth, taking the sting out of the game with patient possession, and killing Wigan with their pace, ability to break the lines and fill the box with bodies.

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As Kompany said: “I am happy about the storyline of the game.

“We were a bit under the cosh for 10-15 minutes in the first half and it allows me to show the players look what happens when we don't get involved in anyone's else game.

“Our game is always going to be aggressive and coming round for second balls, we don't want to get done by anyone in this league on that.

“But we can't turn it into a game like that when we have the ball.

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The first half went as we thought it could go until the point it didn't anymore, and then the second half we did what we should do when the game changes. That is a real lesson to show them.”

In the end, 5-1 was a touch harsh on Wigan, but there was a gulf in class, and you could say Burnley have been threatening to do that to someone.

So, from scoring three goals in the opening four games, the Clarets have eight in two, with the positive thing being players are clearly not hitting their straps just yet.

We have seen Scott Twine for 20 minutes, and there is more to come from Nathan Tella, Manuel Benson, Darko Churlinov, the fit-again Johann Berg Gudmundsson, and likely new arrival Anass Zaroury - as well as any potential striker before the window closes this week.

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The risk and reward of playing out from the back is bearing fruit, and the backing for Aro Muric from a sell-out away end would have made the 6ft 6ins man mountain feel 10ft tall.

And in Josh Brownhill, as Kompany said after his goal against Luton, the Clarets could have one of the players of the Championship.

He has four goals for the season in six league games, and could have had many more.

But Brownhill is offering more than goals, claiming another assist, putting in the hard yards as ever, and showing real leadership in a young side.

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His bond with the fans was demonstrated after the full time whistle, as the supporters continue to buy into what Kompany is trying to do.

As I write my final words for the Burnley Express, after 28 years, I have no doubt the team is in good hands and that Kompany will deliver success, whether this season or in time.

The man is a class act, as he said to me: “It was a good lesson today, a really good lesson, we saw every side of the game that we can be facing in the Championship, with different qualities.

“And it’s good to give it to the fans as well, and to you!”

That gesture meant the world, and to the fans for their kind messages, I appreciate every one.

Up the Clarets