Dan Black's verdict as "psycho" Vincent Kompany gives Burnley the ‘edge’ required to prevail in another game of two halves against West Brom
“The best of all, he is still just a psycho!"
Jordan Beyer correctly identified that the term 'psycho' would normally carry negative connotations when assigned to an individual.
But Nedum Onuoha's tag for his former Manchester City team-mate, Vincent Kompany, couldn't have been intended in a more complimentary manner.
"Some of the team talks I’ve heard him give to the team, he’s like ‘I hate these players, go and kill them’," he continued in his appraisal of the Burnley boss on TalkSport.
The 36-year-old's half-time rallying cries might not mirror the infamous 'hair dryer' treatments administered by Sir Alex Ferguson back in his heyday, but whatever the two-time Manager of the Month recipient is saying in the dressing room at Turf Moor certainly seems to fire a rocket up the proverbial.
It’s often been a game of two halves for Burnley on their own patch this term. Friday night's game against West Brom was only the second time this season the Clarets had trailed at the break, with Dan Potts steering Luton Town ahead way back in August, but it was the ninth occasion in which they'd gone on to win a fixture at home after failing to get their noses in front at the interval.
With Burnley's performances quite obviously reaching a match-winning crescendo in the second half, there's clearly some substance to what ex-Sunderland and QPR defender Onuoha is saying.
Kompany claimed: “You’ve seen it enough over the years, on the pitch! The meaning of the word ‘psycho’ the way he said it, I can understand where he comes from.
“Am I passionate about my job? Yes, but I’m lucky to enjoy what I’m doing, thoroughly. Since I’ve been a coach, I channel all of my energy every day into what I love most, which is trying to make players better and win football matches.
He continued: “I don’t know which fragment got out... but even the most cultured teams, and I’ve been lucky to be part of a few, always have people with an edge in the dressing room."
“I can be very calm and measured here, but I don’t send the team out at the weekend with only one mission, to play nice football. I love the way we play and do everything to help it but I take lots of happiness and joy from a scrap as well."
Burnley had to overcome a deficit to get something out of a game for a seventh time this season as the table-toppers registered an eighth league win in succession.
What's more, they've now pocketed 36 points from the 39 on offer since the stalemate at St Andrews in mid-October, and they've netted in 25 games on the bounce, just two short of equalling a 90-odd year-old club record.
This time it was Darnell Furlong's turn to have the home side playing catch-up. The right back, who won't want to see Anass Zaroury again in a hurry, executed a well-timed, yet not-too-subtle, tactical nudge on Charlie Taylor to get on the end of John Swift's corner.
The opener came smack bang in the middle of a couple of openings for Daryl Dike, both of which were thwarted by Josh Cullen, with the Republic of Ireland international blocking a header before tracking back to make a superb recovery challenge deep inside his own penalty area.
The hosts had looked lost at sea, and the Baggies, who had won nine games from 10 in the division, posed one of the greatest threats we've seen in open play of any side this season. Well, for 20 minutes of the first half.
Their seventh minute cause for celebration was apparently the worst thing that could have happened for Carlos Corberan's men who, despite showing how good they can be, turned down the dial, eased off their press, became considerably more reserved, and appeared content to sit in and defend their slender advantage.
Kompany, recognising the presence of former Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder, who was in the press room before and after the game, said: "I thought the performance was brilliant, every moment of the game. I was really pleased with most aspects of the game.
"In the end it was a good thing that we conceded early; managers at the back will understand why. It was not bad because it put them a little more on the back foot. Then for us it was about being patient and we knew we had the players to do it at some moment in time."
The visitors couldn't have opted for a more damaging and injurious approach if they'd tried. They became Burnley's 'play thing', just like many others before them had been.
While referee Jarred Gillett probably made the right calls in ignoring penalty appeals for both Ashley Barnes and Nathan Tella, the Australian official must've been suffering from brain freeze, due to the plummeting temperatures in East Lancashire, to miss the glaringly obvious foul from Furlong on Josh Brownhill inside the box.
The goal-scoring defender had two hands in the back of Josh Brownhill, and used considerable force to send him to ground from Connor Roberts' cross,with ex-West Brom striker Hal Robson-Kanu even commenting on Sky Sports: "It's a real aggressive shove in the back from Furlong and, on another night, that's given as a penalty."
The momentum continued to build; former Burnley defender Erik Pieters diverted a driven Ashley Barnes cross towards his own goal, with Palmer turning the ball on to a post, with the veteran forward then straying a fraction offside when altering the course of Ian Maatsen's effort to pick out the corner.
Lady Luck was against them once more when Barnes steered an attempt on to the crossbar when Brownhill had allowed Zaroury's delivery to run. An equaliser, at that point, seemed an inevitability.
“If one of my players stays on the floor he’s more likely to get a bollocking than the opposition player," Kompany said. "It’s in my nature. I don’t want our players to ever be weaker. Smaller, not as heavy, yes, but they have to be braver, and with more intensity and with more of an edge to them.
“I won’t send any of my teams out just for the beautiful side of the game because my nature is more of that as well."
Burnley carried more of an 'edge' in the second half, which was partly exacerbated by the changes they were able to make. Jay Rodriguez replaced Barnes and Manuel Benson was introduced at the expense of Samuel Bastien, who had been a rather surprise inclusion.
When Zaroury, Nathan Tella and Benson tick, and that troublesome trio are on the pitch together, the nation's highest scorers are imperious. We'll just have to wait in hope that the injury sustained by the latter — who was spotted walking through the press room in a protective cast afterwards — isn't anything too concerning.
The club’s Moroccan ace would’ve hit double figures (in all competitions) had it not been for Okay Yokuslu’s intervention, Southampton loan star Tella saw his volley blocked by Pieters and Benson sliced an effort wide having already teed up Brownhill, whose attempt was turned over the top by one-time target Dara O’Shea.
Burnley had more bite and even more brilliance, just as Kompany had demanded. They were recovering the ball at a much higher rate, turning over possession in threatening areas of the pitch and utilising every metre of its width.
Brownhill’s determination forced the transition, the visitors were caught off-guard, Zaroury slipped in an inch-perfect pass, and Tella showed his class with a fantastic finish.
Then, after Arijanet Muric had denied Jayson Molumby, and Cullen had been tripped on the edge of the box, Scott Twine, who many had considered to be an enigma after his unfortunate start to life at Burnley, popped up with a rather special winner.
Robbie Blake, Steven Defour, Maxwel Cornet, Matty Taylor, Joey Barton, Ian Maatsen, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ross Wallace, Wade Elliott and Robbie Brady have all scored memorable free kicks for Burnley. This one is right up there!
"I thought in the second half, with everything we did well in the first half, we just bottled it up and did more of it,” concluded Kompany.