Burnley boss Vincent Kompany ready to prove the doubters wrong all over again in the Premier League
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Many had expected freshly-relegated Burnley to fail in their bid for an immediate return to the top flight following the squad's summer overhaul.
However, they topped the Championship from November onwards, embarked on a 22-game unbeaten run, and became only the sixth team in the history of the division to pass 100 points.
The second tier champions are already the third favourites to go down with some bookmakers, matching AFC Bournemouth's odds of 13/8, while bettering Sheffield United's 10/11 chances.
“I think that’ll be the story for a while until we prove otherwise," said Kompany. "We don’t need to say anything now other than we'll work hard and get ourselves ready and give ourselves a chance. But we faced the doubt at the beginning of this season.
“The same will be at the beginning of next season, and it’s for us to use that as fuel and something to rally around and it starts now."
The EFL Championship Manager of the Year has much more faith in his players having seen them defy the odds rather spectacularly once already.
He's seen enough in his squad this season to know that they've got the mental fortitude, durability and backbone to hold their own at the highest level.
Having exceeded all expectations this term, Kompany said: “Just the character of the people here and just everybody around the club, I can’t name anything specific in terms of 'we’ll be better than this team or that team'.
"I just think there is something here that can get you through difficult games, that can get you through difficult times and actually bring you over a certain hurdle where you can actually maybe have a little bit more than just a struggle.
“I think at our level there’s not much better than we could have done this year. But I think you always set your targets towards what is realistic for you in the next division."
Kompany just wants to have some fun along the way, while making supporters proud with a series of good performances, in an attempt to finish as high up the table as possible.
He said: “Like I said, the goal for me next year is that we can make our fans proud, we can have a bit of fun in the Premier League. Fun is not every game a stressful game but every now and then, just good performances and good wins.
"I give an example and by no means does it mean that’s the target we set, but if the target is 17th and you finish 10th, it’s exceptional. If the target is 15th and you finish ninth or eighth it’s exceptional, so there’s a way for us to have an exceptional season but it will be maybe measured differently.”